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PETER  PAN 

IN  KENSINGTON  GARDENS 


A 


The  Kensington  Gardens  arc  in  London, 


flic  King  Ik'cs. 


PETER  PAN 

IN  KENSINGTON  GARDENS 


BY 


J.    M.    BARRIE 

(  From  '  The  Little,  White  Bird ' ) 


WITH    DRAWINGS    BY 


ARTHUR    RACKHAM 


NEW  YORK 

CHARLES   SCRIBNER'S  SONS 

1910 


Copyright,  1902,  1906, 
BY  CHARLES  SCRIBNER'S  SONS 


(  *     *  <  . 


c      c    <      c          c 


c  t     *       .     * 


'        •         ,  * 


€     <  ' 

I  C 

<        c 


c     t       c      '   .    c     < 


THE  NEW  YORK 

HJeLIC  11 


A*  i  .  ' 

E* 


CONTENTS 

CHAPTER    I 

PAGE 

THE  GRAND  TOUR  OF  THE  GARDENS,          .         1 

CHAPTER   II 
PETER  PAN, ,19 

CHAPTER    III 
THE  THRUSH'S  NEST,        .....      37 

CHAPTER   IV 
LOCK-OUT  TIME,  •       v        .'.-..         .         .       55 


•  •  ••  - 

CHAPTER    V 

? 


THE  LITTLE  HOUSE, 


CHAPTER   VI 
PETER'S  GOAT,  ...  .109 


(t       ,          i  -.  .   .    »     ^  « 

4     «*.      .»  .   •»     .1      '•   • 


"*"       *     3    «<•  ™» 

"*           "     »  *  '             *  „* 

I       ,1                   1  !»•»•*  '        I 

I         it  j    n    «  «  <» 

.1       *  i*    »           «  » 


ILLUSTRATIONS 

1.  'The  Kensington  Gardens  are  in  London,  where  the  King 

lives,'  .  .  Frontispiece 

PAGE 

2.  'The  lady  with  the  balloons,  who  sits  just  outside,'   .  2 

3.  'Old  Mr.  Salford  was  a  crab-apple  of  an  old  gentleman 

who  wandered  all  day  in  the  Gardens,'  16 

4.  'When  he  heard  Peter's  voice  he  popped  in  alarm  behind 

a  tulip,'     .........  24 

5.  'Put  his  strange  case  before  old  Solomon  Caw,'  28 

6.  'After  this  the  birds  said  that  they  would  help  him  no  more 

in  his  mad  enterprise,'                   .  36 

7.  'For  years  he  had  been  quietly  filling  his  stocking,'  .  40 

8.  'Fairies  are  all  more  or  less  in  hiding  until  dusk,'      .  50 

9.  'These  tricky  fairies  sometimes  slyly  change  the  board  on 

a  ball  night,'      .  60 

10.  'When  her  Majesty  wants  to  know  the  time,'    .  64 

11.  'Peter  Pan  is  the  fairies'  orchestra,'  66 

12.  'A  chrysanthemum  heard  her,  and  said  pointedly,  "Hoity- 

toity,  what  is  this?"  '  88 

13.  'Shook  his  bald  head  and  murmured,  "Cold,  quite  cold,"  90 

14.  'Fairies  never  say,  "We  feel  happy";    what  they  say  is, 

"Wefeeldonccy,"'    .  94 

1,5.    'Looking  very  undancey  indeed,'     .  98 

16.    '  Building  the  house  for  Maimie,'     .          .                              .  104 


PETER  PAN 

IN  KENSINGTON  GARDENS 


f\'N4  ^-iV^ST1' 

-  •  '»•,     5    •?:•  •..,•>••  iii.'!?1  -. 

•  *%uUX    •     *. . .  «*r  .=  ••  n-.'>*;. 

.  '-^«n.v  : .     .••  ,o".i:fii  .•• 


THE  GRAND  TOUR  OF  THE  GARDENS 


You  must  see  for  yourselves  that  it  will  be 
difficult  to   follow   Peter  Pan's  adventures 
unless  you  are  familiar  with  the  Kensing- 
ton Gardens.     They  are  in 
London,  where   the   King 
lives,  and  I  used  to  take 
David  there  nearly  every 
day  unless   he   was  look- 
ing decidedly  flushed.     No 
child    has    ever    been    in 
the  whole  of  the  Gardens, 
because  it  is  so  soon  time 
to  turn  back.     The  reason 
it    is    soon    time   to    turn 
back   is   that,  if  you    are 
as  small  as  David,  you  sleep  from  twelve  to 
one.     If  your  mother  was  not  so  sure  that 


THE   GRAND   TOUR 

you   sleep  from  twelve  to   one,  you   could 
most  likely  see  the  whole  of  them. 

The  Gardens  are  bounded  on  one  side  by 
a  never-ending  line  of  omnibuses,  over  which 
your  nurse   has   such   authority 
that  if  she  holds  up  her  finger  to 
any  one  of  them  it  stops  immedi- 
ately.    She    then    crosses    with 
you  in  safety  to  the  other  side. 
There    are   more   gates  to    the 
Gardens  than  one  gate,  but  that 
is  the  one  you  go  in  at,  and  be- 
fore you  go  in  you  speak  to  the 
lady  with  the  balloons,  who  sits 
just  outside.     This  is  as  near  to 
being  inside  as  she  may  venture, 
because,  if  she  were  to  let  go  her  hold  of 
the  railings  for   one   moment,  the  balloons 
would  lift  her  up,   and  she  would  be  flown 
away.    She  sits  very  squat,  for  the  balloons 
are  always  tugging  at  her,  and  the  strain 
has  given  her  quite  a  red  face.     Once  she 
was  a  new  one,  because  the  old  one  had  let 
go,  and  David  was  very  sorry  for  the  old 
2 


The  lady  with  the  balloons,  who  sits 
just  outside. 


1 


y  one  of  them  it  *t 

:"  I  \  . 

^'i 


Tardens  than  one  gate,  but  tha 

0<; 

ore  you  go  in  you  speak  to  th 

ady  M'ith   thr-   balJooiis,  Avho  ^it 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

one,  but  as  she  did  let  go,  he  wished  he  had 
been  there  to  see. 

The  Gardens  are  a  tremendous  big  place, 
with  millions  and  hundreds  of  trees;  and 
first  you  coine  to  the  Figs,  but  you  scorn  to 
loiter  there,  for  the  Figs  is  the  resort  of 
superior  little  persons,  who  are  forbidden  to 
mix  with  the  commonalty,  and  is  so  named, 
according  to  legend,  because  they  dress  in 
full  fig.  These  dainty  ones  are  themselves 
contemptuously  called  Figs  by  David  and 
other  heroes,  and  you  have  a  key  to  the 
manners  and  customs  of  this  dandiacal 
section  of  the  Gardens  when  I  tell  you  that 
cricket  is  called  crickets  here.  Occasionally 
a  rebel  Fig  climbs  over  the  fence  into  the 
world,  and  such  a  one  was  Miss  Mabel  Grey, 
of  whom  I  shall  tell  you  when  we  come  to 
Miss  Mabel  Grey's  gate.  She  was  the  only 
really  celebrated  Fig. 

We  are  now  in  the  Broad  Walk,  and  it 
is  as  much  bigger  than  the  other  walks  as 
your  father  is  bigger  than  you.  David  won- 
dered if  it  began  little,  and  grew  and  grew, 

3 


THE   GRAND   TOUR 

until  it  was  quite  grown  up,  and  whether  the 
other  walks  are  its  babies,  and  he  drew  a 
picture,  which  diverted  him  very  much,  of 
the  Broad  Walk  giving  a  tiny  walk  an  airing 
in  a  perambulator.  In  the  Broad  Walk  you 
meet  all  the  people  who  are  worth  knowing, 
and  there  is  usually  a  grown-up  with  them 
to  prevent  them  going  on  the  damp  grass, 
and  to  make  them  stand  disgraced  at  the 
corner  of  a  seat  if  they  have  been  mad-dog 
or  Mary-Annish.  To  be  Mary-Annish  is  to 
behave  like  a  girl,  whimpering  because  nurse 
won't  carry  you,  or  simpering  with  your 
thumb  in  your  mouth,  and  it  is  a  hateful 
quality ;  but  to  be  mad-dog  is  to  kick  out  at 
everything,  and  there  is  some  satisfaction  in 
that. 

If  I  were  to  point  out  all  the  notable 
places  as  we  pass  up  the  Broad  Walk,  it 
would  be  time  to  turn  back  before  we  reach 
them,  and  I  simply  wave  my  stick  at  Cecco 
Hewlett's  Tree,  that  memorable  spot  where 
a  boy  called  Cecco  lost  his  penny,  and,  look- 
ing for  it,  found  twopence.  There  has  been 
4 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

a  good  deal  of  excavation  going  on  there 
ever  since.  Farther  up  the  walk  is  the  little 
wooden  house  in  which  Marmaduke  Perry 
hid.  There  is  no  more  awful  story  of  the 
Gardens  than  this  of  Marmaduke  Perry,  who 
had  been  Mary-Annish  three  days  in  succes- 
sion, and  was  sentenced  to  appear  in  the 
Broad  Walk  dressed  in  his  sister's  clothes. 
He  hid  in  the  little  wooden  house,  and 
refused  to  emerge  until  they  brought  him 
knickerbockers  with  pockets. 

You  now  try  to  go  to  the  Round  Pond, 
but  nurses  hate  it,  because  they  are  not 
really  manly,  and  they  make  you  look  the 
other  way,  at  the  Big  Penny  and  the  Baby's 
Palace.  She  was  the  most  celebrated  baby 
of  the  Gardens,  and  lived  in  the  palace  all 
alone,  with  ever  so  many  dolls,  so  people 
rang  the  bell,  and  up  she  got  out  of  her  bed, 
though  it  was  past  six  o'clock,  and  she  lighted 
a  candle  and  opened  the  door  in  her  nighty, 
and  then  they  all  cried  with  great  rejoicings, 
4 Hail,  Queen  of  England!'  What  puzzled 
David  most  was  how  she  knew  where  the 

5 


THE   GRAND   TOUR 

matches  were  kept.  The  Big  Penny  is  a 
statue  about  her. 

Next  we  come  to  the  Hump,  which  is  the 
part  of  the  Broad  Walk  where  all  the  big  races 
are  run ;  and  even  though  you  had  no  inten- 
tion of  running  you  do  run  when  you  come 
to  the  Hump,  it  is  such  a  fascinating,  slide- 
down  kind  of  place.  Often  you  stop  when 
you  have  run  about  half-way  down  it,  and 
then  you  are  lost ;  but  there  is  another  little 
wooden  house  near  here,  called  the  Lost 
House,  and  so  you  tell  the  man  that  you  are 
lost  and  then  he  finds  you.  It  is  glorious 
fun  racing  down  the  Hump,  but  you  can't 
do  it  on  windy  days  because  then  you  are 
not  there,  but  the  fallen  leaves  do  it 
instead  of  you.  There  is  almost  nothing 
that  has  such  a  keen  sense  of  fun  as  a  fallen 
leaf. 

From  the  Hump  we  can  see  the  gate  that 
is  called  after  Miss  Mabel  Grey,  the  Fig  I 
promised  to  tell  you  about.  There  were 
always  two  nurses  with  her,  or  else  one 
mother  and  one  nurse,  and  for  a  long  time 
6 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

she  was  a  pattern-child  who  always  coughed 
off  the  table  and  said,  '  How  do  you  do  ?  '  to 
the  other  Figs,  and  the  only  game  she  played 
at  was  flinging  a  ball  gracefully  and  letting 
the  nurse  bring  it  back  to  her.  Then  one 
day  she  tired  of  it  all  and  went  mad-dog, 
and,  first,  to  show  that  she  really  was  mad- 
dog,  she  unloosened  both  her  boot-laces  and 
put  out  her  tongue  east,  west,  north,  and 
south.  She  then  flung  her  sash  into  a  puddle 
and  danced  on  it  till  dirty  water  was  squirted 
over  her  frock,  after  which  she  climbed  the 
fence  and  had  a  series  of  incredible  adven- 
tures, one  of  the  least  of  which  was  that  she 
kicked  off  both  her  boots.  At  last  she  came 
to  the  gate  that  is  now  called  after  her,  out 
of  which  she  ran  into  streets  David  and  I 
have  never  been  in  though  we  have  heard 
them  roaring,  and  still  she  ran  on  and  would 
never  again  have  been  heard  of  had  not  her 
mother  jumped  into  a  'bus  and  thus  over- 
taken her.  It  all  happened,  I  should  say, 
long  ago,  and  this  is  not  the  Mabel  Grey 
whom  David  knows. 

7 


THE   GRAND  TOUR 

Returning  up  the  Broad  Walk  we  have  on 
our  right  the  Baby  Walk,  which  is  so  full 
of  perambulators  that  you  could  cross  from 
side  to  side  stepping  on  babies,  but  the 
nurses  won't  let  you  do  it.  From  this  walk 
a  passage  called  Bunting's  Thumb,  because 
it  is  that  length,  leads  into  Picnic  Street, 
where  there  are  real  kettles,  and  chestnut- 
blossom  falls  into  your  mug  as  you  are 
drinking.  Quite  common  children  picnic 
here  also,  and  the  blossom  falls  into  their 
mugs  just  the  same. 

Next  comes  St.  Govor's  Well,  which  was 
full  of  water  when  Malcolm  the  Bold  fell 
into  it.  He  was  his  mother's  favourite,  and 
he  let  her  put  her  arm  round  his  neck  in 
public  because  she  was  a  widow ;  but  he 
was  also  partial  to  adventures,  and  liked 
to  play  with  a  chimney-sweep  who  had 
killed  a  good  many  bears.  The  sweep's 
name  was  Sooty,  and  one  day,  when  they 
were  playing  near  the  well,  Malcolm  fell 
in  and  would  have  been  drowned  had  not 
Sooty  dived  in  and  rescued  him ;  and  the 
8 


OF  THE   GARDENS 

water  had  washed  Sooty  clean,  and  he  now 
stood  revealed  as  Malcolm's  long-lost  father. 
So  Malcolm  would  not  let  his  mother  put 
her  arm  round  his  neck  any  more. 

Between  the  well  and  the  Round  Pond 
are  the  cricket  pitches,  and  frequently  the 
choosing  of  sides  exhausts  so  much  time 
that  there  is  scarcely  any  cricket.  Every- 
body wants  to  bat  first,  and  as  soon  as  he 
is  out  he  bowls  unless  you  are  the  better 
wrestler,  and  while  you  are  wrestling  with 
him  the  fielders  have  scattered  to  play  at 
something  else.  The  Gardens  are  noted  for 
two  kinds  of  cricket:  boy  cricket,  which  is 
real  cricket  with  a  bat,  and  girl  cricket, 
which  is  with  a  racquet  and  the  governess. 
Girls  can't  really  play  cricket,  and  when  you 
are  watching  their  futile  efforts  you  make 
funny  sounds  at  them.  Nevertheless,  there 
was  a  very  disagreeable  incident  one  day 
when  some  forward  girls  challenged  David's 
team,  and  a  disturbing  creature  called 
Angela  Clare  sent  down  so  many  yorkers 
that — However,  instead  of  telling  you  the 

9 


THE  GRAND  TOUR 

result  of  that  regrettable  match  I  shall  pass 
on  hurriedly  to  the  Round  Pond,  which  is 
the  wheel  that  keeps  all  the  Gardens  going. 

It  is  round  because  it  is  in  the  very  middle 
of  the  Gardens,  and  when  you  are  come  to 
it  you  never  want  to  go  any  farther.  You 
can't  be  good  all  the  time  at  the  Round 
Pond,  however  much  you  try.  You  can  be 
good  in  the  Broad  Walk  all  the  time,  but 
not  at  the  Round  Pond,  and  the  reason  is 
that  you  forget,  and,  when  you  remember, 
you  are  so  wet  that  you  may  as  wrell  be 
wetter.  There  are  men  who  sail  boats  on 
the  Round  Pond,  such  big  boats  that  they 
bring  them  in  barrows,  and  sometimes  in 
perambulators,  and  then  the  baby  has  to 
walk.  The  bow-legged  children  in  the  Gar- 
dens are  those  who  had  to  walk  too  soon 
because  their  father  needed  the  perambu- 
lator. 

You  always  want  to  have  a  yacht  to  sail 

on  the  Round  Pond,  and  in  the  end  your 

uncle  gives  you  one;  and  to  carry  it  to  the 

pond  the  first  day  is  splendid,  also  to  talk 

10 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

about  it  to  boys  who  have  no  uncle  is  splen- 
did, but  soon  you  like  to  leave  it  at  home. 
For  the  sweetest  craft  that  slips  her  moor- 
ings in  the  Round  Pond  is  what  is  called  a 
stick-boat,  because  she  is  rather  like  a  stick 
until  she  is  in  the  water  and  you  are  holding 
the  string.  Then  as  you  walk  round,  pulling 
her,  you  see  little  men  running  about  her 
deck,  and  sails  rise  magically  and  catch  the 
breeze,  and  you  put  in  on  dirty  nights  at 
snug  harbours  which  are  unknown  to  the 
lordly  yachts.  Mght  passes  in  a  twink,  and 
again  your  rakish  craft  noses  for  the  wind, 
whales  spout,  you  glide  over  buried  cities, 
and  have  brushes  with  pirates,  and  cast 
anchor  on  coral  isles.  You  are  a  solitary 
boy  while  all  this  is  taking  place,  for  two 
boys  together  cannot  adventure  far  upon 
the  Round  Pond,  and  though  you  may  talk 
to  yourself  throughout  the  voyage,  giving 
orders  and  executing  them  with  despatch, 
you  know  not,  when  it  is  time  to  go  home, 
where  you  have  been  or  what  swelled  your 
sails ;  your  treasure-trove  is  all  locked  away 

11 


THE  GRAND   TOUR 

in  your  hold,  so  to  speak,  which  will  be 
opened,  perhaps,  by  another  little  boy  many 
years  afterwards. 

But  those  yachts  have  nothing  in  their 
hold.  Does  any  one  return  to  this  haunt  of 
his  youth  because  of  the  yachts  that  used  to 
sail  it?  Oh  no.  It  is  the  stick-boat  that  is 
freighted  with  memories.  The  yachts  are 
toys,  their  owner  a  fresh-water  mariner; 
they  can  cross  and  recross  a  pond  only 
while  the  stick-boat  goes  to  sea.  You 
yachtsmen  with  your  wands,  who  think  we 
are  all  there  to  gaze  on  you,  your  ships  are 
only  accidents  of  this  place,  and  were  they 
all  to  be  boarded  and  sunk  by  the  ducks, 
the  real  business  of  the  Round  Pond  would 
be  carried  on  as  usual. 

Paths  from  everywhere  crowd  like  children 
to  the  pond.  Some  of  them  are  ordinary 
paths,  which  have  a  rail  on  each  side,  and 
are  made  by  men  with  their  coats  off,  but 
others  are  vagrants,  wide  at  one  spot,  and  at 
another  so  narrow  that  you  can  stand  astride 
them.  They  are  called  Paths  that  have 
12 


OF   THE    GARDENS 

Made  Themselves,  and  David  did  wish  he 
could  see  them  doing  it.  But,  like  all  the 
most  wonderful  things  that  happen  in  the 
Gardens,  it  is  done,  we  concluded,  at  night 
after  the  gates  are  closed.  We  have  also 
decided  that  the  paths  make  themselves 
because  it  is  their  only  chance  of  getting  to 
the  Round  Pond. 

One  of  these  gypsy  paths  comes  from  the 
place  where  the  sheep  get  their  hair  cut. 
When  David  shed  his  curls  at  the  hair- 
dresser's, I  am  told,  he  said  good-bye  to 
them  without  a  tremor,  though  his  mother 
has  never  been  quite  the  same  bright 
creature  since;  so  he  despises  the  sheep 
as  they  run  from  their  shearer,  and  calls 
out  tauntingly,  <  Cowardy,  cowardy  custard!' 
But  when  the  man  grips  them  between  his 
legs  David  shakes  a  fist  at  him  for  using 
such  big  scissors.  Another  startling  moment 
is  when  the  man  turns  back  the  grimy  wool 
from  the  sheeps'  shoulders  and  they  look 
suddenly  like  ladies  in  the  stalls  of  a  theatre. 
The  sheep  are  so  frightened  by  the  shear- 

13 


THE    GRAND   TOUR 


ing  that  it  makes  them  quite  white  and 
thin,  and  as  soon  as  they  are  set  free  they 
begin  to  nibble  the  grass  at  once,  quite 
anxiously,  as  if  they  feared  that  they  would 
never  be  worth  eating.  David  wonders 
whether  they  know  each  other,  now  that 
they  are  so  different,  and  if  it  makes  them 
fight  with  the  wrong  ones.  They  are  great 
fighters,  and  thus  so  unlike  country  sheep 
that  every  year  they  give  my  St.  Bernard 
dog,  Porthos,  a  shock.  He  can  make  a  field  of 
country  sheep  fly  by  merely  announcing 

his  approach,  but 
these  town  sheep 
come  toward  him 
with  no  promise 
of  gentle  enter- 
tainment, and 
then  a  light  from 
last  year  breaks 
upon  Porthos. 

He  cannot  with  dignity  retreat,  but  he  stops 
and  looks  about  him  as  if  lost  in  admiration 
of  the  scenery,  and  presently  he  strolls  away 
U 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

with  a  fine  indifference  and  a  glint  at  me 
from  the  corner  of  his  eye. 

The  Serpentine  begins  near  here.  It  is 
a  lovely  lake,  and  there  is  a  drowned  forest 
at  the  bottom  of  it.  If  you  peer  over  the 
edge  you  can  see  the  trees  all  growing  up- 
side down,  and  they  say  that  at  night  there 
are  also  drowned  stars  in  it.  If  so,  Peter 
Pan  sees  them  when  he  is  sailing  across  the 
lake  in  the  Thrush's  Nest.  A  small  part 
only  of  the  Serpentine  is  in  the  Gardens,  for 
soon  it  passes  beneath  a  bridge  to  far  away 
where  the  island  is  on  which  all  the  birds 
are  born  that  become  baby  boys  and  girls. 
No  one  who  is  human,  except  Peter  Pan 
(and  he  is  only  half  human),  can  land  on 
the  island,  but  you  may  write  what  you  want 
(boy  or  girl,  dark  or  fair)  on  a  piece  of 
paper,  and  then  twist  it  into  the  shape  of 
a  boat  and  slip  it  into  the  water,  and  it 
reaches  Peter  Pan's  island  after  dark. 

We  are  on  the  way  home  now,  though  of 
course,  it  is  all  pretence  that  we  can  go  to 
so  many  of  the  places  in  one  day.  I  should 

15 


THE   GRAND   TOUR 

have  had  to  be  carrying  David  long  ago,  and 
resting  on  every  seat  like  old  Mr.  Salford. 
That  was  what  we  called  him,  because  he 
always  talked  to  us  of  a  lovely  place  called 
Salford  where  he  had  been  born.  He  was 
a  crab-apple  of  an  old  gentleman  who 
wandered  all  day  in  the  Gardens  from  seat 
to  seat  trying  to  fall  in  with  somebody  who 
was  acquainted  with  the  town  of  Salford, 
and  when  we  had  known  him  for  a  year  or 
more  we  actually  did  meet  another  aged 
solitary  who  had  once  spent  Saturday  to 
Monday  in  Salford.  He  was  meek  and 
timid,  and  carried  his  address  inside  his 
hat,  and  whatever  part  of  London  he  was  in 
search  of  he  always  went  to  Westminster 
Abbey  first  as  a  starting-point.  Him  we  car- 
ried in  triumph  to  our  other  friend,  with  the 
story  of  that  Saturday  to  Monday,  and  never 
shall  I  forget  the  gloating  joy  with  which 
Mr.  Salford  leapt  at  him.  They  have  been 
cronies  ever  since,  and  I  noticed  that  Mr.  Sal- 
ford,  who  naturally  does  most  of  the  talking, 
keeps  tight  grip  of  the  other  old  man's  coat. 
16 


Old  Mr.  Sal  ford  was  a  crab-apple  of  an 
old  gentleman  who  wandered  all  day  in 

o  *•' 

the  Gardens. 


i-i"-. 

called 
fie  was 

ho 
>alford, 

•  w  $& 

uv  v\)\)  \\ij  \r/\'j\)\r   /  I       ,  \,\r> 

-.     !^-  ?r 
. )  r>\\\ 

to 
ad 

• 

• 

tie 

=.T 

ing, 


OF   THE   GARDENS 

The  two  last  places  before  you  come  to 
our  gate  are  the  Dog's  Cemetery  and  the 
chaffinch's  nest,  but  we  pretend  not  to  know 
what  the  Dog's  Cemetery  is,  as  Porthos  is 
always  with  us.  The  nest  is  very  sad.  It 
is  quite  white,  and  the  way  we  found  it  was 
wonderful.  We  were  having  another  look 
among  the  bushes  for  David's  lost  worsted 
ball,  and  instead  of  the  ball  we  found  a 
lovely  nest  made  of  the  worsted,  and  con- 
taining four  eggs,  with  scratches  on  them 
very  like  David's  handwriting,  so  we  think 
they  must  have  been  the  mother's  love- 
letters  to  the  little  ones  inside.  Every  day 
we  were  in  the  Gardens  we  paid  a  call  at 
the  nest,  taking  care  that  no  cruel  boy 
should  see  us,  and  we  dropped  crumbs,  and 
soon  the  bird  knew  us  as  Mends,  and  sat 
in  the  nest  looking  at  us  kindly  with  her 
shoulders  hunched  up.  But  one  day  when 
we  went  there  were  only  two  eggs  in  the 
nest,  and  the  next  time  there  were  none. 
The  saddest  part  of  it  was  that  the  poor 
little  chaffinch  fluttered  about  the  bushes, 

17 


TOUR   OF   THE   GARDENS 

looking  so  reproachfully  at  us  that  we  knew 
she  thought  we  had  done  it;  and  though 
David  tried  to  explain  to  her,  it  was  so  long 
since  he  had  spoken  the  bird  language  that 
I  fear  she  did  not  understand.  He  and  I 
left  the  Gardens  that  day  with  our  knuckles 
in  our  eyes. 


18 


II 

PETEK   PAN 

IF  you  ask  your  mother  whether  she  knew 
about  Peter  Pan  when  she  was  a  little  girl, 
she  will  say,  'Why,  of  course  I  did,  child'; 
and  if  you  ask  her  whether  he  rode  on  a 
goat  in  those  days,  she  will  say,  'What  a 
foolish  question  to  ask;  certainly  he  did.' 
Then  if  you  ask  your  grandmother  whether 
she  knew  about  Peter  Pan  when  she  was  a 
girl,  she  also  says,  'Why,  of  course  I  did, 
child,'  but  if  you  ask  her  whether  he  rode 
on  a  goat  in  those  days,  she  says  she  never 
heard  of  his  having  a  goat.  Perhaps  she 
has  forgotten,  just  as  she  sometimes  forgets 
your  name  and  calls  you  Mildred,  which  is 
your  mother's  name.  Still,  she  could  hardly 
forget  such  an  important  thing  as  the  goat. 
Therefore  there  was  no  goat  when  your 

19 


PETER   PAN 

grandmother  was  a  little  girl.  This  shows 
that,  in  telling  the  story  of  Peter  Pan,  to 
begin  with  the  goat  (as  most  people  do)  is 
as  silly  as  to  put  on  your  jacket  before  your 
vest. 

Of  course,  it  also  shows  that  Peter  is  ever 
so  old,  but  he  is  really  always  the  same  age, 
so  that  does  not  matter  in  the  least.  His 
age  is  one  week,  and  though  he  was  born 
so  long  ago  he  has  never  had  a  birthday, 
nor  is  there  the  slightest  chance  of  his  ever 
having  one.  The  reason  is  that  he  escaped 
from  being  a  human  when  he  was  seven 
days  old;  he  escaped  by  the  window  and 
flew  back  to  the  Kensington  Gardens. 

If  you  think  he  was  the  only  baby  who 
ever  wanted  to  escape,  it  shows  how  com- 
pletely you  have  forgotten  your  own  young 
days.  When  David  heard  this  story  first 
he  was  quite  certain  that  he  had  never  tried 
to  escape,  but  I  told  him  to  think  back 
hard,  pressing  his  hands  to  his  temples,  and 
when  he  had  done  this  hard,  and  even 

harder,  he  distinctly  remembered  a  youth- 
20 


PETER   PAN 

ful  desire  to  return  to  the  tree-tops,  and 
with  that  memory  came  others,  as  that  he 
had  lain  in  bed  planning  to  escape  as  soon 
as  his  mother  was  asleep,  and  how  she  had 
once  caught  him  half-way  up  the  chimney. 
All  children  could  have  such  recollections 
if  they  would  press  their  hands  hard  to  their 
temples,  for,  having  been  birds  before  they 
were  human,  they  are  naturally  a  little  wild 
during  the  first  few  weeks,  and  very  itchy 
at  the  shoulders,  where  their  wings  used  to 
be.  So  David  tells  me. 

I  ought  to  mention  here  that  the  follow- 
ing is  our  way  with  a  story:  First  I  tell  it 
to  him,  and  then  he  tells  it  to  me,  the 
understanding  being  that  it  is  quite  a  dif- 
ferent story;  and  then  I  retell  it  with  his 
additions,  and  so  we  go  on  until  no  one 
could  say  whether  it  is  more  his  story  or 
mine.  In  this  story  of  Peter  Pan,  for  in- 
stance, the  bald  narrative  and  most  of  the 
moral  reflections  are  mine,  though  not  all, 
for  this  boy  can  be  a  stern  moralist;  but 
the  interesting  bits  about  the  ways  and 

21 


PETER  PAN 

customs  of  babies  in  the  bird-stage  are 
mostly  reminiscences  of  David's,  recalled 
by  pressing  his  hands  to  his  temples  and 
thinking  hard. 

Well,  Peter  Pan  got  out  by  the  window, 
which  had  no  bars.  Standing  on  the  ledge 
he  could  see  trees  far  away,  which  were 
doubtless  the  Kensington  Gardens,  and  the 
moment  he  saw  them  he  entirely  forgot  that 
he  was  now  a  little  boy  in  a  nightgown,  and 
away  he  flew,  right  over  the  houses  to  the 
Gardens.  It  is  wonderful  that  he  could 
fly  without  wings,  but  the  place  itched  tre- 
mendously, and — and — perhaps  we  could 
all  fly  if  we  were  as  dead-confident-sure  of 
our  capacity  to  do  it  as  was  bold  Peter  Pan 
that  evening. 

He  alighted  gaily  on  the  open  sward, 
between  the  Baby's  Palace  and  the  Serpen- 
tine, and  the  first  thing  he  did  was  to  lie 
on  his  back  and  kick.  He  was  quite  un- 
aware already  that  he  had  ever  been  human, 
and  thought  he  was  a  bird,  even  in  appear- 
ance, just  the  same  as  in  his  early  days, 
22 


PETER   PAN 

and  when  he  tried  to  catch  a  fly  he  did  not 
understand  that  the  reason  he  missed  it 
was  because  he  had  attempted  to  seize  it 
with  his  hand,  which,  of  course,  a  bird  never 
does.  He  saw,  however,  that  it  must  be 
past  Lock-out  Time,  for  there  were  a  good 
many  fairies  about,  all  too  busy  to  notice 
him ;  they  were  getting  breakfast  ready, 
milking  their  cows,  drawing  water,  and  so 
on,  and  the  sight  of  the  water-pails  made 
him  thirsty,  so  he  flew  over  to  the  Round 
Pond  to  have  a  drink.  He  stooped  and 
dipped  his  beak  in  the  pond;  he  thought 
it  was  his  beak,  but,  of  course,  it  was  only 
his  nose,  and  therefore,  very  little  water 
came  up,  and  that  not  so  refreshing  as  usual, 
so  next  he  tried  a  puddle,  and  he  fell  flop 
into  it.  When  a  real  bird  falls  in  flop,  he 
spreads  out  his  feathers  and  pecks  them 
dry,  but  Peter  could  not  remember  what 
was  the  thing  to  do,  and  he  decided  rather 
sulkily  to  go  to  sleep  on  the  weeping-beech 
in  the  Baby  Walk. 

At  first  he  found  some  difficulty  in  balan- 

23 


PETER   PAN 

cing  himself  on  a  branch,  bnt  presently  he 
remembered  the  way,  and  fell  asleep.  He 
awoke  long  before  morning,  shivering,  and 
saying  to  himself,  '  I  never  was  out  on  such 
a  cold  night';  he  had  really  been  out  on 
colder  nights  when  he  was  a  bird,  but,  of 
course,  as  everybody  knows,  what  seems  a 
warm  night  to  a  bird  is  a  cold  night  to  a 
boy  in  a  nightgown.  Peter  also  felt  strangely 
uncomfortable,  as  if  his  head  was  stuffy; 
he  heard  loud  noises  that  made  him  look 
round  sharply,  though  they  were  really  him- 
self sneezing.  There  was  something  he 
wanted  very  much,  but,  though  he  knew 
he  wanted  it,  he  could  not  think  what  it 
was.  What  he  wanted  so  much  was  his 
mother  to  blow  his  nose,  but  that  never 
struck  him,  so  he  decided  to  appeal  to  the 
fairies  for  enlightenment.  They  are  reputed 
to  know  a  good  deal. 

There  were  two  of  them  strolling  along 

the  Baby  Walk,  with  their  arms  round  each 

other's    waists,    and    he    hopped    down   to 

address  them.     The  fairies  have  their  tiffs 

24 


When  he  heard  Peter's  voice  he  popped  in 
alarm  behind  a  tulip. 


himself  on  a  branch,  bat  piv         y  he 

ay,  and  fell  asleep.     He 

inhering,  and 

jut  on  such 

i  out  on 

of 

3ems  a 
Id  ni^bt  to  a 


. 

ud  i 

hini- 
he 

'W 

it 

. 
er 

•iited 

;  ,    to 
h^ir  tiffs 


PETER    PAN 

with  the  birds,  but  they  usually  give  a  civil 
answer  to  a  civil  question,  and  he  was  quite 
angry  when  these  two  ran  away  the  moment 
they  saw  him.  Another  was  lolling  on  a 
garden  chair,  reading  a  postage-stamp  which 
some  human  had  let  fall,  and  when  he 
heard  Peter's  voice  he  popped  in  alarm 
behind  a  tulip. 

To  Peter's  bewilderment  he  discovered 
that  every  fairy  he  met  fled  from  him.  A 
band  of  workmen,  who  were  sawing  down  a 
toadstool,  rushed  away,  leaving  their  tools 
behind  them.  A  milkmaid  turned  her 
pail  upside  down  and  hid  in  it.  Soon  the 
Gardens  were  in  an  uproar.  Crowds  of 
fairies  were  running  this  way  and  that, 
asking  each  other  stoutly  who  was  afraid; 
lights  were  extinguished,  doors  barricaded, 
and  from  the  grounds  of  Queen  Mab's  palace 
came  the  rub-a-dub  of  drums,  showing  that 
the  royal  guard  had  been  called  out.  A 
regiment  of  Lancers  came  charging  down 
the  Broad  Walk,  armed  with  holly-leaves, 
with  which  they  jag  the  enemy  horribly  in 

25 


PETER  PAN 

passing.  Peter  heard  the  little  people  cry- 
ing everywhere  that  there  was  a  human  in 
the  Gardens  after  Lock-out  Time,  but  he 
never  thought  for  a  moment  that  he  was 
the  human.  He  was  feeling  stumer  and 
stumer,  and  more  and  more  wistful  to  learn 
what  he  wanted  done  to  his  nose,  but  he 
pursued  them  with  the  vital  question  in 
vain;  the  timid  creatures  ran  from  him, 
and  even  the  Lancers,  when  he  approached 
them  up  the  Hump,  turned  swiftly  into  a 
side-walk,  on  the  pretence  that  they  saw 
him  there. 

Despairing  of  the  fairies,  he  resolved  to 
consult  the  birds,  but  now  he  remembered, 
as  an  odd  thing,  that  all  the  birds  on  the 
weeping-beech  had  flown  away  when  he 
alighted  on  it,  and  though  this  had  not 
troubled  him  at  the  time,  he  saw  its  mean- 
ing now.  Every  living  thing  was  shunning 
him.  Poor  little  Peter  Pan !  he  sat  down 
and  cried,  and  even  then  he  did  not  know 
that,  for  a  bird,  he  was  sitting  on  his  wrong 
part.  It  is  a  blessing  that  he  did  not  know, 
26 


PETEK   PAN 

for  otherwise  he  would  have  lost  faith  in 
his  power  to  fly,  and  the  moment  you  doubt 
whether  you  can  fly,  you  cease  for  ever  to 
be  able  to  do  it.  The  reason  birds  can  fly 
and  we  can't  is  simply  that  they  have  perfect 
faith,  for  to  have  faith  is  to  have  wings. 

Now,  except  by  flying,  no  one  can  reach 
the  island  in  the  Serpentine,  for  the  boats 
of  humans  are  forbidden  to  land  there,  and 
there  are  stakes  round  it,  standing  up  in 
the  water,  on  each  of  which  a  bird-sentinel 
sits  by  day  and  night.  It  was  to  the  island 
that  Peter  now  flew  to  put  his  strange  case 
before  old  Solomon  Caw,  and  he  alighted 
on  it  with  relief,  much  heartened  to  find 
himself  at  last  at  home,  as  the  birds  call 
the  island.  All  of  them  were  asleep,  in- 
cluding the  sentinels,  except  Solomon,  who 
was  wide  awake  on  one  side,  and  he  listened 
quietly  to  Peter's  adventures,  and  then  told 
him  their  true  meaning. 

4  Look  at  your  nightgown,  if  you  don't 
believe  me,'  Solomon  said ;  and  with  staring 
eyes  Peter  looked  at  his  nightgown,  and 

27 


PETEK    PAN 

then  at  the  sleeping  birds.      Not  one  of 
them  wore  anything. 

i How  many  of  your  toes  are  thumbs?' 
said  Solomon  a  little  cruelly,  and  Peter  saw 
to  his  consternation,  that  all  his  toes  were 
fingers.  The  shock  was  so  great  that  it 
drove  away  his  cold. 

*  Ruffle  your  feathers,1  said  that  grim  old 
Solomon,  and  Peter  tried  most  desperately 
hard  to  ruffle  his  feathers,  but  he  had  none. 
Then  he  rose  up,  quaking,  and  for  the  first 
time  since  he  stood  on  the  window  ledge, 
he  remembered  a  lady  who  had  been  very 
fond  of  him. 

4 1  think  I  shall  go  back  to  mother,1  he 
said  timidly. 

1  Good-bye,'  replied  Solomon  Caw  with  a 
queer  look. 

But  Peter  hesitated.  'Why  don't  you 
go  ? '  the  old  one  asked  politely. 

4 1  suppose,'  said  Peter  huskily, '  I  suppose 
I  can  still  fly  ! ' 

You  see  he  had  lost  faith. 

'Poor  little  half-and-half!'  said  Solomon, 
28 


Put  his  strange  case  before  old  Solomon 
Caw. 


thumbs  I  • 

er  saw 

were 

it  it 

>ld 

-\AV6?J5\  iuH 

' 

<ose 


PETER   PAN 

who  was  not  really  hard-hearted,  'you  will 
never  be  able  to  fly  again,  not  even  on  windy 
days.  You  must  live  here  on  the  island 
always.' 

4  And  never  even  go  to  the  Kensington 
Gardens  f '  Peter  asked  tragically. 

4  How  could  you  get  across  ? '  said  Solomon. 
He  promised  very  kindly,  however,  to  teach 
Peter  as  many  of  the  bird  ways  as  could  be 
learned  by  one  of  such  an  awkward  shape. 

'Then  I  shan't  be  exactly  a  human!' 
Peter  asked. 

<No.' 

'  Nor  exactly  a  bird  ? ' 

'No.' 

<  What  shall  I  be  T 

'You  will  be  a  Betwixt-and-Between,' 
Solomon  said,  and  certainly  he  was  a  wise 
old  fellow,  for  that  is  exactly  how  it  turned 
out. 

The  birds  on  the  island  never  got  used 
to  him.  His  oddities  tickled  them  every 
day,  as  if  they  were  quite  new,  though  it 
was  really  the  birds  that  were  new.  They 

29 


PETEK  PAN 

came  out  of  the  eggs  daily,  and  laughed  at 
him  at  once;  then  off  they  soon  flew  to  be 
humans,  and  other  birds  came  out  of  other 
eggs;  and  so  it  went  on  for  ever.  The 
crafty  mother-birds,  when  they  tired  of  sit- 
ting on  their  eggs,  used  to  get  the  young 
ones  to  break  their  shells  a  day  before  the 
right  time  by  whispering  to  them  that  now 
was  their  chance  to  see  Peter  washing  or 
drinking  or  eating.  Thousands  gathered 
round  him  daily  to  watch  him  do  these 
things,  just  as  you  watch  the  peacocks,  and 
they  screamed  with  delight  when  he  lifted 
the  crusts  they  flung  him  with  his  hands 
instead  of  in  the  usual  way  with  the  mouth. 
All  his  food  was  brought  to  him  from  the 
Gardens  at  Solomon's  orders  by  the  birds. 
He  would  not  eat  worms  or  insects  (which 
they  thought  very  silly  of  him),  so  they 
brought  him  bread  in  their  beaks.  Thus, 
when  you  cry  out,  '  Greedy !  Greedy ! '  to  the 
bird  that  flies  away  with  the  big  crust,  you 
know  now  that  you  ought  not  to  do  this,  for 
he  is  very  likely  taking  it  to  Peter  Pan. 
30 


PETEK   PAN 

Peter  wore  no  nightgown  now.  You  see, 
the  birds  were  always  begging  him  for  bits 
of  it  to  line  their  nests  with,  and,  being  very 
good-natured,  he  could  not  refuse,  so  by 
Solomon's  advice  he  had  hidden  what  was 
left  of  it.  But,  though  he  was  now  quite 
naked,  you  must  not  think  that  he  was  cold 
or  unhappy.  He  was  usually  very  happy 
and  gay,  and  the  reason  was  that  Solomon 
had  kept  his  promise  and  taught  him  many 
of  the  bird  ways.  To  be  easily  pleased,  for 
instance,  and  always  to  be  really  doing 
something,  and  to  think  that  whatever  he 
was  doing  was  a  thing  of  vast  importance. 
Peter  became  very  clever  at  helping  the 
birds  to  build  their  nests;  soon  he  could 
build  better  than  a  wood-pigeon,  and  nearly 
as  well  as  a  blackbird,  though  never  did  he 
satisfy  the  finches,  and  he  made  nice  little 
water-troughs  near  the  nests  and  dug  up 
worms  for  the  young  ones  with  his  fingers. 
He  also  became  very  learned  in  bird-lore, 
and  knew  an  east  wind  from  a  west  wind 
by  its  smell,  and  he  could  see  the  grass 

31 


PETER   PAN 

growing  and  hear  the  insects  walking  about 
inside  the  tree-trunks.  But  the  best  thing 
Solomon  had  done  was  to  teach  him  to  have 
a  glad  heart.  All  birds  have  glad  hearts 
unless  you  rob  their  nests,  and  so  as  they 
were  the  only  kind  of  heart  Solomon  knew 
about,  it  was  easy  to  him  to  teach  Peter 
how  to  have  one. 

Peter's  heart  was  so  glad  that  he  felt  he 
must  sing  all  day  long,  just  as  the  birds 
sing  for  joy,  but,  being  partly  human,  he 
needed  an  instrument,  so  he  made  a  pipe 
of  reeds,  and  he  used  to  sit  by  the  shore 
of  the  island  of  an  evening,  practising  the 
sough  of  the  wind  and  the  ripple  of  the 
water,  and  catching  handfuls  of  the  shine 
of  the  moon,  and  he  put  them  all  in  his 
pipe  and  played  them  so  beautifully  that 
even  the  birds  were  deceived,  and  they 
would  say  to  each  other,  'Was  that  a  fish 
leaping  in  the  water  or  was  it  Peter  playing 
leaping  fish  on  his  pipe!'  And  sometimes 
he  played  the  birth  of  birds,  and  then  the 
mothers  would  turn  round  in  their  nests  to 
32 


PETER   PAN 

see  whether  they  had  laid  an  egg.  If  you 
are  a  child  of  the  Gardens  you  must  know 
the  chestnut-tree  near  the  bridge,  which 
comes  out  in  flower  first  of  all  the  chestnuts, 
but  perhaps  you  have  not  heard  why  this 
tree  leads  the  way.  It  is  because  Peter 
wearies  for  summer  and  plays  that  it  has 
come,  and  the  chestnut  being  so  near,  hears 
him  and  is  cheated. 

But  as  Peter  sat  by  the  shore  tootling 
divinely  on  his  pipe  he  sometimes  fell  into 
sad  thoughts,  and  then  the  music  became 
sad  also,  and  the  reason  of  all  this  sadness 
was  that  he  could  not  reach  the  Gardens, 
though  he  could  see  them  through  the  arch 
of  the  bridge.  He  knew  he  could  never 
be  a  real  human  again,  and  scarcely  wanted 
to  be  one,  but  oh!  how  he  longed  to  play 
as  other  children  play,  and  of  course  there 
is  no  such  lovely  place  to  play  in  as  the 
Gardens.  The  birds  brought  him  news  of 
how  boys  and  girls  play,  and  wistful  tears 
started  in  Peter's  eyes. 

Perhaps  you  wonder  why  he  did  not  swim 

33 


PETEK   PAN 

across.  The  reason  was  that  he  could  not 
swim.  He  wanted  to  know  how  to  swim, 
but  no  one  on  the  island  knew  the  way 
except  the  ducks,  and  they  are  so  stupid. 
They  were  quite  willing  to  teach  him,  but 
all  they  could  say  about  it  was,  'You  sit 
down  on  the  top  of  the  water  in  this  way, 
and  then  you  kick  out  like  that.'  Peter 
tried  it  often,  but  always  before  he  could 
kick  out  he  sank.  What  he  really  needed 
to  know  was  how  you  sit  on  the  water  with- 
out sinking,  and  they  said  it  w^as  quite 
impossible  to  explain  such  an  easy  thing 
as  that.  Occasionally  swans  touched  on  the 
island,  and  he  would  give  them  all  his  day's 
food  and  then  ask  them  how  they  sat  on 
the  water,  but  as  soon  as  he  had  no  more 
to  give  them  the  hateful  things  hissed  at 
him  and  sailed  away. 

Once  he  really  thought  he  had  discovered 
a  way  of  reaching  the  Gardens.  A  wonder- 
ful white  thing,  like  a  runaway  newspaper, 
floated  high  over  the  island  and  then 
tumbled,  rolling  over  and  over  after  the 
34 


PETER   PAN 

manner  of  a  bird  that  has  broken  its  wing. 
Peter  was  so  frightened  that  he  hid,  but 
the  birds  told  him  it  was  only  a  kite,  and 
what  a  kite  is,  and  that  it  must  have  tugged 
its  string  out  of  a  boy's  hand,  and  soared 
away.  After  that  they  laughed  at  Peter  for 
being  so  fond  of  the  kite;  he  loved  it  so 
much  that  he  even  slept  with  one  hand  on 
it,  and  I  think  this  was  pathetic  and  pretty, 
for  the  reason  he  loved  it  was  because  it 
had  belonged  to  a  real  boy. 

To  the  birds  this  was  a  very  poor  reason, 
but  the  older  ones  felt  grateful  to  him  at 
this  time  because  he  had  nursed  a  number 
of  fledglings  through  the  German  measles, 
and  they  offered  to  show  him  how  birds  fly 
a  kite.  So  six  of  them  took  the  end  of  the 
string  in  their  beaks  and  flew  away  with 
it ;  and  to  his  amazement  it  flew  after  them 
and  went  even  higher  than  they. 

Peter  screamed  out,  '  Do  it  again ! '  and 
with  great  good-nature  they  did  it  several 
times,  and  always  instead  of  thanking  them 
he  cried,  i  Do  it  again ! '  which  shows  that 

35 


PETER   PAN 

even  now  he  had  not  quite  forgotten  what 
it  was  to  be  a  boy. 

At  last,  with  a  grand  design  burning 
within  his  brave  heart,  he  begged  them  to 
do  it  once  more  with  him  clinging  to  the 
tail,  and  now  a  hundred  flew  off  with  the 
string,  and  Peter  clung  to  the  tail,  meaning 
to  drop  off  when  he  was  over  the  Gardens. 
But  the  kite  broke  to  pieces  in  the  air,  and 
he  would  have  been  drowned  in  the  Ser- 
pentine had  he  not  caught  hold  of  two 
indignant  swans  and  made  them  carry  him 
to  the  island.  After  this  the  birds  said 
that  they  would  help  him  no  more  in  his 
mad  enterprise. 

Nevertheless,  Peter  did  reach  the  Gardens 
at  last  by  the  help  of  Shelley's  boat,  as  I  am 
now  to  tell  you. 


After  this  the  birds  said  that  they  would 
help  him  no  more  in  his  mad  enterprise. 


PAX 


an* 

>  k 
h 

he  would  1 

Lt v-'-Ll L'JLIJ-V        J-LdivL      AJLv?       Hi.,-  VT  U 

indignant  swans  and 
'and. 

>ds 


Ill 

THE  THRUSH'S  NEST 

SHELLEY  was  a  young  gentleman  and  as 
grown-up  as  he  need  ever  expect  to  be. 
He  was  a  poet ;  and  they  are  never  exactly 
grown-up.  They  are  people  who  despise 
money  except  what  you  need  for  to-day, 
and  he  had  all  that  and  five  pounds  over. 
So,  when  he  was  walking  in  the  Kensington 
Gardens,  he  made  a  paper  boat  of  his  bank- 
note, and  sent  it  sailing  on  the  Serpentine. 

It  reached  the  island  at  night;  and  the 
look-out  brought  it  to  Solomon  Caw,  who 
thought  at  first  that  it  was  the  usual  thing, 
a  message  from  a  lady,  saying  she  would 
be  obliged  if  he  could  let  her  have  a  good 
one.  They  always  'ask  for  the  best  one  he 
has,  and  if  he  likes  the  letter  he  sends  one 
from  Class  A,  but  if  it  ruffles  him  he  sends 

37 


THE    THRUSH'S  NEST 

very  funny  ones  indeed.  Sometimes  he 
sends  none  at  all,  and  at  another  time  he 
sends  a  nestful ;  it  all  depends  on  the  mood 
you  catch  him  in.  He  likes  you  to  leave 
it  all  to  him,  and  if  you  mention  particularly 
that  you  hope  he  will  see  his  way  to  making 
it  a  boy  this  time,  he  is  almost  sure  to  send 
another  girl.  And  whether  you  are  a  lady 
or  only  a  little  boy  who  wants  a  baby-sister, 
always  take  pains  to  write  your  address 
clearly.  You  can't  think  what  a  lot  of  babies 
Solomon  has  sent  to  the  wrong  house. 

Shelley's  boat,  when  opened,  completely 
puzzled  Solomon,  and  he  took  counsel  of 
his  assistants,  who  having  walked  over  it 
twice,  first  with  their  toes  pointed  out,  and 
then  with  their  toes  pointed  in,  decided 
that  it  came  from  some  greedy  person  who 
wanted  five.  They  thought  this  because 
there  was  a  large  five  printed  on  it.  4  Pre- 
posterous ! '  cried  Solomon  in  a  rage,  and 
he  presented  it  to  Peter;  anything  useless 
which  drifted  upon  the  island  was  usually 
given  to  Peter  as  a  plaything. 
38 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

But  he  did  not  play  with  his  precious 
bank-note,  for  he  knew  what  it  was  at  once, 
having  been  very  observant  during  the 
week  when  he  was  an  ordinary  boy.  With 
so  much  money,  he  reflected,  he  could 
surely  at  last  contrive  to  reach  the  Gardens, 
and  he  considered  all  the  possible  ways, 
and  decided  (wisely,  I  think)  to  choose  the 
best  way.  But,  first,  he  had  to  tell  the 
birds  of  the  value  of  Shelley's  boat;  and 
though  they  were  too  honest  to  demand  it 
back,  he  saw  that  they  were  galled,  and 
they  cast  such  black  looks  at  Solomon,  who 
was  rather  vain  of  his  cleverness,  that  he 
flew  away  to  the  end  of  the  island,  and  sat 
there  very  depressed  with  his  head  buried 
in  his  wings.  Now  Peter  knew  that  unless 
Solomon  was  on  your  side,  you  never  got 
anything  done  for  you  in  the  island,  so  he 
followed  him  and  tried  to  hearten  him. 

Nor  was  this  all  that  Peter  did  to  gain  the 
powerful  old  fellow's  good-will.  You  must 
know  that  Solomon  had  no  intention  of 
remaining  in  office  all  his  life.  He  looked 

39 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

forward  to  retiring  by  and  by,  and  devoting 
his  green  old  age  to  a  life  of  pleasure  on  a 
certain  yew-stump  in  the  Figs  which  had 
taken  his  fancy,  and  for  years  he  had  been 
quietly  filling  his  stocking.  It  was  a  stocking 
belonging  to  some  bathing  person  which  had 
been  cast  upon  the  island,  and  at  the  time  I 
speak  of  it  contained  a  hundred  and  eighty 
crumbs,  thirty-four  nuts,  sixteen  crusts,  a 
pen-wiper,  and  a  boot-lace.  When  his  stock- 
ing was  full,  Solomon  calculated  that  he 
would  be  able  to  retire  on  a  competency. 
Peter  now  gave  him  a  pound.  He  cut  it  off 
his  bank-note  with  a  sharp  stick. 

This  made  Solomon  his  friend  for  ever, 
and  after  the  two  had  consulted  together 
they  called  a  meeting  of  the  thrushes.  You 
will  see  presently  why  thrushes  only  were 
invited. 

The  scheme  to  be  put  before  them  was 
really  Peter's,  but  Solomon  did  most  of  the 
talking,  because  he  soon  became  irritable  if 
other  people  talked.  He  began  by  saying 
that  he  had  been  much  impressed  by  the 
40 


For  years  lie  had  been  quietly  filling  his 
stocking. 


voting 
id 

mr  ,  i         v\ 

& 


THE   THRUSH'S  NEST 

superior  ingenuity  shown  by  the  thrushes  in 
nest-building,  and  this  put  them  into  good- 
humour  at  once,  as  it  was  meant  to  do;  for 
all  the  quarrels  between  birds  are  about  the 
best  way  of  building  nests.  Other  birds,  said 
Solomon,  omitted  to  line  their  nests  with 
mud,  and  as  a  result  they  did  not  hold 
water.  Here  he  cocked  his  head  as  if  he 
had  used  an  unanswerable  argument;  but, 
unfortunately,  a  Mrs.  Finch  had  come  to  the 
meeting  uninvited,  and  she  squeaked  out, 
1  We  don't  build  nests  to  hold  water,  but  to 
hold  eggs,'  and  then  the  thrushes  stopped 
cheering,  and  Solomon  was  so  perplexed  that 
he  took  several  sips  of  water. 

'Consider,'  he  said  at  last,  'how  warm  the 
mud  makes  the  nest.' 

4 Consider,' cried  Mrs.  Finch,  'that  when 
water  gets  into  the  nest  it  remains  there 
and  your  little  ones  are  drowned.' 

The  thrushes  begged  Solomon  with  a  look 
to  say  something  crushing  in  reply  to  this, 
but  again  he  was  perplexed. 

'Try  another  drink,'  suggested  Mrs.  Finch 

41 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

pertly.  Kate  was  her  name,  and  all  Kates 
are  saucy. 

Solomon  did  try  another  drink,  and  it  in- 
spired him.  'If,'  said  he,  ca  finch's  nest  is 
placed  on  the  Serpentine  it  fills  and  breaks 
to  pieces,  but  a  thrush's  nest  is  still  as  dry 
as  the  cup  of  a  swan's  back.' 

How  the  thrushes  applauded !  Now  they 
knew  why  they  lined  their  nests  with  mud, 
and  when  Mrs.  Finch  called  out,  4We  don't 
place  our  nests  on  the  Serpentine,'  they  did 
what  they  should  have  done  at  first — chased 
her  from  the  meeting.  After  this  it  was 
most  orderly.  What  they  had  been  brought 
together  to  hear,  said  Solomon,  was  this: 
their  young  friend,  Peter  Pan,  as  they  well 
knew,  wanted  very  much  to  be  able  to  cross 
to  the  Gardens,  and  he  now  proposed,  with 
their  help,  to  build  a  boat. 

At  this  the  thrushes  began  to  fidget,  which 
made  Peter  tremble  for  his  scheme. 

Solomon  explained  hastily  that  what  he 
meant  was  not  one  of  the  cumbrous  boats 
that  humans  use;  the  proposed  boat  was  to 
42 


THE   THRUSH'S  NEST 

be  simply  a  thrush's  nest  large  enough  to 
hold  Peter. 

But  still,  to  Peter's  agony,  the  thrushes 
were  sulky.  '  We  are  very  busy  people,'  they 
grumbled,  '  and  this  would  be  a  big  job.' 

4  Quite  so,'  said  Solomon,  '  and,  of  course, 
Peter  would  not  allow  you  to  work  for 
nothing.  You  must  remember  that  he  is 
now  in  comfortable  circumstances,  and  he 
will  pay  you  such  wages  as  you  have  never 
been  paid  before.  Peter  Pan  authorises  me 
to  say  that  you  shall  all  be  paid  sixpence 
a  day.' 

Then  all  the  thrushes  hopped  for  joy,  and 
that  very  day  was  begun  the  celebrated 
Building  of  the  Boat.  All  their  ordinary 
business  fell  into  arrears.  It  was  the  time 
of  the  year  when  they  should  have  been  pair- 
ing, but  not  a  thrush's  nest  was  built  except 
this  big  one,  and  so  Solomon  soon  ran  short 
of  thrushes  with  which  to  supply  the  demand 
from  the  mainland.  The  stout,  rather  greedy 
children,  who  look  so  well  in  perambulators 
but  get  puffed  easily  when  they  walk,  were 

43 


THE   THRUSH'S  NEST 

i 

all  young  thrushes  once,  and  ladies  often 
ask  specially  for  them.  What  do  you  think 
Solomon  did  ?  He  sent  over  to  the  house- 
tops fora  lot  of  sparrows  and  ordered  them  to 
lay  their  eggs  in  old  thrushes'  nests,  and  sent 
their  young  to  the  ladies  and  swore  they 
were  all  thrushes !  It  was  known  afterwards 
on  the  island  as  the  Sparrow's  Year;  and 
so,  when  you  meet  grown-up  people  in  the 
Gardens  who  puff  and  blow  as  if  they 
thought  themselves  bigger  than  they  are, 
very  likely  they  belong  to  that  year.  You 
ask  them. 

Peter  was  a  just  master,  and  paid  his 
workpeople  every  evening.  They  stood  in 
rows  on  the  branches,  waiting  politely  while 
he  cut  the  paper  sixpences  out  of  his  bank- 
note, and  presently  he  called  the  roll,  and 
then  each  bird,  as  the  names  were  men- 
tioned, flew  down  and  got  sixpence.  It  must 
have  been  a  fine  sight. 

And  at  last,  after  months  of  labour, 
the  boat  was  finished.  O  the  glory  of 
Peter  as  he  saw  it  growing  more  and  more 


THE  THRUSH'S    NEST 

like  a  great  thrush's  nest !  From  the  very 
beginning  of  the  building  of  it  he  slept  by 
its  side,  and  often  woke  up  to  say  sweet 
things  to  it,  and  after  it  was  lined  with  mud 
and  the  mud  had  dried  he  always  slept  in  it. 
He  sleeps  in  his  nest  still,  and  has  a  fascinat- 
ing way  of  curling  round  in  it,  for  it  is  just 
large  enough  to  hold  him  comfortably  when 
he  curls  round  like  a  kitten.  It  is  brown  in- 
side, of  course,  but  outside  it  is  mostly  green, 
being  woven  of  grass  and  twigs,  and  when 
these  wither  or  snap  the  walls  are  thatched 
afresh.  There  are  also  a  few  feathers  here 
and  there,  which  came  off  the  thrushes  while 
they  were  building. 

The  other  birds  were  extremely  jealous, 
and  said  that  the  boat  would  not  balance 
on  the  water,  but  it  lay  most  beautifully 
steady ;  they  said  the  water  would  come 
into  it,  but  no  water  came  into  it.  Next 
they  said  that  Peter  had  no  oars,  and  this 
caused  the  thrushes  to  look  at  each  other 
in  dismay;  but  Peter  replied  that  he  had 
no  need  of  oars,  for  he  had  a  sail,  and 

45 


THE   THRUSH'S  NEST 

with  such  a  proud,  happy  face  he  produced 
a  sail  which  he  had  fashioned  out  of  his 
nightgown,  and  though  it  was  still  rather 
like  a  nightgown  it  made  a  lovely  sail. 
And  that  night,  the  moon  being  full,  and 
all  the  birds  asleep,  he  did  enter  his  coracle 
(as  Master  Francis  Pretty  would  have  said) 
and  depart  out  of  the  island.  And  first, 
he  knew  not  why,  he  looked  upward,  with 
his  hands  clasped,  and  from  that  moment 
his  eyes  were  pinned  to  the  west. 

He  had  promised  the  thrushes  to  begin  by 
making  short  voyages,  with  them  as  his 
guides,  but  far  away  he  saw  the  Kensing- 
ton Gardens  beckoning  to  him  beneath  the 
bridge,  and  he  could  not  wait.  His  face 
was  flushed,  but  he  never  looked  back ; 
there  was  an  exultation  in  his  little  breast 
that  drove  out  fear.  Was  Peter  the  least 
gallant  of  the  English  mariners  who  have 
sailed  westward  to  meet  the  Unknown  ? 

At  first,  his  boat  turned  round  and 
round,  and  he  was  driven  back  to  the 
place  of  his  starting,  whereupon  he  short- 
46 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

ened  sail,  by  removing  one  of  the  sleeves, 
and  was  forthwith  carried  backwards  by  a 
contrary  breeze,  to  his  no  small  peril.  He 
now  let  go  the  sail,  with  the  result  that  he 
was  drifted  towards  the  far  shore,  where 
are  black  shadows  he  knew  not  the  dangers 
of,  but  suspected  them,  and  so  once  more 
hoisted  his  nightgown  and  went  roomer  of 
the  shadows  until  he  caught  a  favouring 
wind,  which  bore  him  westward,  but  at  so 
great  a  speed  that  he  was  like  to  be 
broke  against  the  bridge.  Which,  having 
avoided,  he  passed  under  the  bridge  and 
came,  to  his  great  rejoicing,  within  full 
sight  of  the  delectable  Gardens.  But  hav- 
ing tried  to  cast  anchor,  which  was  a  stone 
at  the  end  of  a  piece  of  the  kite-string, 
he  found  no  bottom,  and  was  fain  to  hold 
off,  seeking  for  moorage;  and,  feeling  his 
way,  he  buffeted  against  a  sunken  reef  that 
cast  him  overboard  by  the  greatness  of  the 
shock,  and  he  was  near  to  being  drowned, 
but  clambered  back  into  the  vessel.  There 
now  arose  a  mighty  storm,  accompanied  by 

47 


THE   THRUSH'S  NEST 

roaring  of  waters,  such  as  he  had  never 
heard  the  like,  and  he  was  tossed  this  way 
and  that,  and  his  hands  so  numbed  with 
the  cold  that  he  could  not  close  them. 
Having  escaped  the  danger  of  which,  he 
was  mercifully  carried  into  a  small  bay, 
where  his  boat  rode  at  peace. 

Neverthless,  he  was  not  yet  in  safety; 
for,  on  pretending  to  disembark,  he  found 
a  multitude  of  small  people  drawn  up  on 
the  shore  to  contest  his  landing,  and  shout- 
ing shrilly  to  him  to  be  off,  for  it  was  long 
past  Lock-out  Time.  This,  with  much 
brandishing  of  their  holly-leaves,  and  also 
a  company  of  them  carried  an  arrow  which 
some  boy  had  left  in  the  Gardens,  and 
this  they  were  prepared  to  use  as  a  batter- 
ing-ram. 

Then  Peter,  who  knew  them  for  the 
fairies,  called  out  that  he  was  not  an 
ordinary  human  and  had  no  desire  to  do 
them  displeasure,  but  to  be  their  friend; 
nevertheless,  having  found  a  jolly  harbour, 
he  was  in  no  temper  to  draw  off  there- 
48 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

from,  and  he  warned  them  if  they  sought 
to  mischief  him  to  stand  to  their  harms. 

So  saying,  he  boldly  leapt  ashore,  and 
they  gathered  around  him  with  intent  to 
slay  him,  but  there  then  arose  a  great  cry 
among  the  women,  and  it  was  because 
they  had  now  observed  that  his  sail  was 
a  baby's  nightgown.  Whereupon,  they 
straightway  loved  him,  and  grieved  that 
their  laps  were  too  small,  the  which  I 
cannot  explain,  except  by  saying  that 
such  is  the  way  of  women.  The  men- 
fairies  now  sheathed  their  weapons  on 
observing  the  behaviour  of  their  women, 
on  whose  intelligence  they  set  great  store, 
and  they  led  him  civilly  to  their  queen, 
who  conferred  upon  him  the  courtesy  of 
the  Gardens  after  Lock-out  Time,  and 
henceforth  Peter  could  go  whither  he 
chose,  and  the  fairies  had  orders  to  put 
him  in  comfort. 

Such  was  his  first  voyage  to  the  Gardens, 
and  you  may  gather  from  the  antiquity 
of  the  language  that  it  took  place  a  long 

49 


THE   THKUSH'S   NEST 

time  ago.  But  Peter  never  grows  any 
older,  and  if  we  could  be  watching  for 
him  under  the  bridge  to-night  (but,  of 
course,  we  can't),  I  dare  say  we  should 
see  him  hoisting  his  nightgown  and  sail- 
ing or  paddling  towards  us  in  the  Thrush's 
Nest.  When  he  sails,  he  sits  down,  but 
he  stands  up  to  paddle.  I  shall  tell  you 
presently  how  he  got  his  paddle. 

Long  before  the  time  for  the  opening 
of  the  gates  comes  he  steals  back  to  the 
island,  for  people  must  not  see  him  (he  is 
not  so  human  as  all  that),  but  this  gives 
him  hours  for  play,  and  he  plays  exactly  as 
real  children  play.  At  least  he  thinks  so, 
and  it  is  one  of  the  pathetic  things  about 
him  that  he  often  plays  quite  wrongly. 

You  see,  he  had  no  one  to  tell  him 
how  children  really  play,  for  the  fairies 
are  all  more  or  less  in  hiding  until  dusk, 
and  so  know  nothing,  and  though  the 
birds  pretended  that  they  could  tell  him 
a  great  deal,  when  the  time  for  telling 
came,  it  was  wonderful  how  little  they 
50 


Fairies  are  all  more  or  less  in  hiding 
until  dusk. 


[E   THRUSH'S  NEST 

But    Peter    never    grows    any 
old  ild    be    watching    for 

he    bridge    to-night    (but,    of 

can't),   I  dare    say    wo    should 

hoisting  his  nigh         a   and  sail- 

'!*"»    he    sit^    i  • :  s          but 


\\o 


bu;  ^ives 

ly  as 


CvAAvl     AL     A?1?      VJAAw     vJA.     LAA*  ^JLAAA-cio     cvlLFvr«Xv' 

hir  plav 

cT1     v 

You    see,   1  11    him 

iiidin          hi   dusk, 
ing,    and    though 
pretend        that  they   rr>ul<[   t^l 

wh  for    telling 

wond  •'         little    tli 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

really  knew.  They  told  him  the  truth 
about  hide-and-seek,  and  he  often  plays 
it  by  himself,  but  even  the  ducks  on  the 
Round  Pond  could  not  explain  to  him 
what  it  is  that  makes  the  pond  so  fascin- 
ating to  boys.  Every  night  the  ducks 
have  forgotten  all  the  events  of  the  day, 
except  the  <r  number  of  pieces  of  cake 
thrown  to  them.  They  are  gloomy  crea- 
tures, and  say  that  cake  is  not  what  it 
was  in  their  young  days. 

So  Peter  had  to  find  out  many  things 
for  himself.  He  often  played  ships  at 
the  Round  Pond,  but  his  ship  was  only  a 
hoop  which  he  had  found  on  the  grass. 
Of  course,  he  had  never  seen  a  hoop,  and 
he  wondered  what  you  play  at  with  them, 
and  decided  that  you  play  at  pretending 
they  are  boats.  This  hoop  always  sank  at 
once,  but  he  waded  in  for  it,  and  some- 
times he  dragged  it  gleefully  round  the 
rim  of  the  pond,  and  he  was  quite  proud 
to  think  that  he  had  discovered  what  boys 
do  with  hoops. 

51 


THE   THBUSH'SNEST 

Another  time,  when  he  found  a  child's 
pail,  he  thought  it  was  for  sitting  in,  and 
lie  sat  so  hard  in  it  that  he  could  scarcely 
o-et  out  of  it.  Also  he  found  a  balloon. 

c> 

It  was  bobbing  about  on  the  Hump,  quite 
as  if  it  was  having  a  game  by  itself,  and 
he  caught  it  after  an  exciting  chase.  But 
he  thought  it  was  a  ball,  and  Jenny  Wren 
had  told  him  that  boys  kick  balls,  so  he 
kicked  it;  and  after  that  he  could  not 
find  it  anywhere. 

Perhaps  the  most  surprising  thing  he 
found  was  a  perambulator.  It  was  under 
a  lime-tree,  near  the  entrance  to  the  Fairy 
Queen's  Winter  Palace  (which  is  within 
the  circle  of  the  seven  Spanish  chestnuts), 
and  Peter  approached  it  warily,  for  the 
birds  had  never  mentioned  such  things  to 
him.  Lest  it  was  alive,  he  addressed  it 
politely;  and  then,  as  it  gave  no  answer, 
he  went  nearer  and  felt  it  cautiously.  He 
gave  it  a  little  push,  and  it  ran  from  him, 
which  made  him  think  it  must  be  alive 
after  all;  but,  as  it  had  run  from  him,  he 
52 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

was  not  afraid.  So  he  stretched  out  his 
hand  to  pull  it  to  him,  but  this  time  it 
ran  at  him,  and  he  was  so  alarmed  that 
he  leapt  the  railing  and  scudded  away  to 
his  boat.  You  must  not  think,  however, 
that  he  was  a  coward,  for  he  came  back 
next  night  with  a  crust  in  one  hand  and 
a  stick  in  the  other,  but  the  perambulator 
had  gone,  and  he  never  saw  any  other  one. 
I  have  promised  to  tell  you  also  about 
his  paddle.  It  was  a  child's  spade  which 
he  had  found  near  St.  Govor's  Well,  and 
he  thought  it  was  a  paddle. 

Do  you  pity  Peter  Pan  for  making  these 
mistakes!  If  so,  I  think  it  rather  silly  of 
you.  What  I  mean  is  that,  of  course,  one 
must  pity  him  now  and  then,  but  to  pity 
him  all  the  time  would  be  impertinence. 
He  thought  he  had  the  most  splendid 
time  in  the  Gardens,  and  to  think  you 
have  it  is  almost  quite  as  good  as  really 
to  have  it.  He  played  without  ceasing, 
while  you  often  waste  time  by  being  mad- 
dog  or  Mary-Annish.  He  could  be  neither 

53 


THE   THRUSH'S   NEST 

of  these  things,  for  he  had  never  heard  of 
them,  but  do  you  think  he  is  to  be  pitied 
for  that  f 

Oh,  he  was  merry!  He  was  as  much 
merrier  than  you,  for  instance,  as  you  are 
merrier  than  your  father.  Sometimes  he 
fell,  like  a  spinning-top,  and  from  sheer  merri- 
ment. Have  you  seen  a  greyhound  leap- 
ing the  fences  of  the  Gardens?  That  is 
how  Peter  leaps  them. 

And  think  of  the  music  of  his  pipe. 
Gentlemen  who  walk  home  at  night  write 
to  the  papers  to  say  they  heard  a  night- 
ingale in  the  Gardens,  but  it  is  really 
Peter's  pipe  they  hear.  Of  course,  he 
had  no  mother — at  least,  what  use  was 
she  to  him?  You  can  be  sorry  for  him 
for  that,  but  don't  be  too  sorry,  for  the 
next  thing  I  mean  to  tell  you  is  how  he 
revisited  her.  It  was  the  fairies  who  gave 
him  the  chance. 


54 


IV 

LOCK-OUT   TIME 

IT  is  frightfully  difficult  to  know  much 
about  the  fairies,  and  almost  the  only  thing 
known  for  certain  is  that  there  are  fairies 
wherever  there  are  children.  Long  ago 
children  were  forbidden  the  Gardens,  and 
at  that  time  there  was  not  a  fairy  in  the 
place ;  then  the  children  were  admitted, 
and  the  fairies  came  trooping  in  that  very 
evening.  They  can't  resist  following  the 
children,  but  you  seldom  see  them,  partly 
because  they  live  in  the  daytime  behind 
the  railings,  where  you  are  not  allowed  to 
go,  and  also  partly  because  they  are  so 
cunning.  They  are  not  a  bit  cunning  after 
Lock-out,  but  until  Lock-out,  my  word ! 

When  you  were  a   bird  you    knew  the 
fairies    pretty    well,  and    you  remember  a 

55 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

good  deal  about  them  in  your  babyhood, 
which  it  is  a  great  pity  you  can't  write 
down,  for  gradually  you  forget,  and  I  have 
heard  of  children  who  declared  that  they 
had  never  once  seen  a  fairy.  Very  likely 
if  they  said  this  in  the  Kensington  Gardens, 
they  were  standing  looking  at  a  fairy  all 
the  time.  The  reason  they  were  cheated 
was  that  she  pretended  to  be  something 
else.  This  is  one  of  their  best  tricks.  They 
usually  pretend  to  be  flowers,  because  the 
court  sits  in  the  Fairies'  Basin,  and  there 
are  so  many  flowers  there,  and  all  along 
the  Baby  Walk,  that  a  flower  is  the  thing 
least  likely  to  attract  attention.  They  dress 
exactly  like  flowers,  and  change  with  the 
seasons,  putting  on  white  when  lilies  are 
in  and  blue  for  bluebells,  and  so  on.  They 
like  crocus  and  hyacinth  time  best  of  all, 
as  they  are  partial  to  a  bit  of  colour,  but 
tulips  (except  white  ones,  which  are  the 
fairy  cradles)  they  consider  garish,  and  they 
sometimes  put  off  dressing  like  tulips  for 
days,  so  that  the  beginning  of  the  tulip 
56 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

weeks  is  almost  the  best  time  to  catch 
them. 

When  they  think  you  are  not  looking 
they  skip  along  pretty  lively,  but  if  you 
look,  and  they  fear  there  is  no  time  to  hide, 
they  stand  quite  still  pretending  to  be 
flowers.  Then,  after  you  have  passed  with- 
out knowing  that  they  were  fairies,  they 
rush  home  and  tell  their  mothers  they  have 
had  such  an  adventure.  The  Fairy  Basin, 
you  remember,  is  all  covered  with  ground- 
ivy  (from  which  they  make  their  castor  oil), 
with  flowers  growing  in  it  here  and  there. 
Most  of  them  really  are  flowers,  but  some 
of  them  are  fairies.  You  never  can  be  sure 
of  them,  but  a  good  plan  is  to  walk  by 
looking  the  other  way,  and  then  turn  round 
sharply.  Another  good  plan,  which  David 
and  I  sometimes  follow,  is  to  stare  them 
down.  After  a  long  time  they  can't  help 
winking,  and  then  you  know  for  certain 
that  they  are  fairies. 

There  are  also  numbers  of  them  along 
the  Baby  Walk,  which  is  a  famous  gentle 

57 


LOCK-OUT  TIME 

place,  as    spots  frequented  by   fairies   are 
called.     Once  twenty-four  of  them  had  ar 
extraordinary  adventure.     They  were  a  girls' 
school  out  for  a  walk  with  the  governess, 
and  all  wearing  hyacinth  gowns,  when  she 
suddenly  put  her  finger  to  her  mouth,  and 
then  they  all  stood  still  on  an  empty  bed  and 
pretended  to  be  hyacinths.     Unfortunately 
what    the    governess  had    heard   was   two 
gardeners  coming  to   plant  new  flowers  in 
that  very  bed.     They  were  wheeling  a  hand- 
cart with  the  flowers  in  it,  and  were  quite 
surprised  to  find  the  bed  occupied.     '  Pity 
to  lift  them  hyacinths,'  said  the  one   man. 
'Duke's     orders,'   replied    the    other,   and, 
having  emptied  the  cart,  they  dug  up  the 
boarding  school  and  put  the  poor,  terrified 
things  in  it  in  five  rows.     Of  course,  neither 
the  governess  nor  the  girls  dare  let  on  that 
they  were  fairies,  so  they  were  carted  far 
away  to  a  potting-shed,  out  of  which  they 
escaped  in   the  night  without  their  shoes, 
but  there  was  a  great  row  about  it  among 
the  parents,  and  the  school  was  ruined. 
58 


LOCK-OUT  TIME 

As  for  their  houses,  it  is  no  use  looking- 
for  them,  because  they  are  the  exact  op- 
posite of  our  houses.  You  can  see  our 
houses  by  day  but  you  can't  see  them  by 
dark.  Well,  you  can  see  their  houses  by 
dark,  but  you  can't  see  them  by  day,  for 
they  are  the  colour  of  night,  and  I  never 
heard  of  any  one  yet  who  could  see  night 
in  the  daytime.  This  does  not  mean  that 
they  are  black,  for  night  has  its  colours 
just  as  day  has,  but  ever  so  much  brighter. 
Their  blues  and  reds  and  greens  are  like 
ours  with  a  light  behind  them.  The  palace 
is  entirely  built  of  many-coloured  glasses, 
and  it  is  quite  the  loveliest  of  all  royal 
residences,  but  the  queen  sometimes  com- 
plains because  the  common  people  will  peep 
in  to  see  what  she  is  doing.  They  are  very 
inquisitive  folk,  and  press  quite  hard  against 
the  glass,  and  that  is  why  their  noses  are 
mostly  snubby.  The  streets  are  miles  long 
and  very  twisty,  and  have  paths  on  each 
side  made  of  bright  worsted.  The  birds 
used  to  steal  the  worsted  for  their  nests, 

59 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

but  a  policeman  has  been  appointed  to  hold 
on  at  the  other  end. 

One  of  the  great  differences  between  the 
fairies  and  us  is  that  they  never  do  any- 
thing useful.  When  the  first  baby  laughed 
for  the  first  time,  his  laugh  broke  into  a 
million  pieces,  and  they  all  went  skipping 
about.  That  was  the  beginning  of  fairies. 
They  look  tremendously  busy,  you  know, 
as  if  they  had  not  a  moment  to  spare,  but 
if  you  were  to  ask  them  what  they  are 
doing,  they  could  not  tell  you  in  the  least. 
They  are  frightfully  ignorant,  and  everything 
they  do  is  make-believe.  They  have  a  post- 
man, but  he  never  calls  except  at  Christmas 
with  his  little  box,  and  though  they  have 
beautiful  schools,  nothing  is  taught  in  them  ; 
the  youngest  child  being  chief  person  is 
always  elected  mistress,  and  when  she  has 
called  the  roll,  they  all  go  out  for  a  walk 
and  never  come  back.  It  is  a  very  notice- 
able thing  that,  in  fairy  families,  the 
youngest  is  always  chief  person,  and  usually 
becomes  a  prince  or  princess  *  and  children 
60 


These  tricky  fairies  sometimes  change  the 
board  on  a  ball  night. 


LOOK-OUT   TIME 

but  a  pol  (pointed  to  boM 

or 

One  of  h»i 

thin 

for  i 
m- 

Th 
They   ''• 

are 
doing,  th 

Ti=  i-"' 

tht  T 

man,  but  h< 
th   hir   Li 

th 

al 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

remember  this,  arid  think  it  must  be  so 
among  humans  also,  and  that  is  why  they 
are  often  made  uneasy  when  they  come 
upon  their  mother  furtively  putting  new 
frills  on  the  basinette. 

You  have  probably  observed  that  your 
baby-sister  wants  to  do  all  sorts  of  things 
that  your  mother  and  her  nurse  want  her 
not  to  do — to  stand  up  at  sitting-down  time, 
and  to  sit  down  at  stand-up  time,  for  in- 
stance, or  to  wake  up  when  she  should  fall 
asleep,  or  to  crawl  on  the  floor  when  she 
is  wearing  her  best  frock,  and  so  on,  and 
perhaps  you  put  this  down  to  naughtiness. 
But  it  is  not;  it  simply  means  that  she  is 
doing  as  she  has  seen  the  fairies  do ;  she 
begins  by  following  their  ways,  and  it  takes 
about  two  years  to  get  her  into  the  human 
ways.  Her  fits  of  passion,  which  are  awful 
to  behold,  and  are  usually  called  teething, 
are  no  such  thing;  they  are  her  natural 
exasperation,  because  we  don't  understand 
her,  though  she  is  talking  an  intelligible 
language.  She  is  talking  fairy.  The  reason 

61 


LiOCK-OUT    TIME 

mothers  and  nurses  know  what  her  remarks 
mean,  before  other  people  know,  as  that 
4  Gruch '  means  '  Give  it  to  me  at  once,'  while 
'  Wa '  is  '  Why  do  yon  wear  such  a  funny 
hat?'  is  because,  mixing  so  much  with 
babies,  they  have  picked  up  a  little  of  the 
fairy  language. 

Of  late  David  has  been  thinking  back  hard 
about  the  fairy  tongue,  with  his  hands  clutch- 
ing his  temples,  and  he  has  remembered  a 
number  of  their  phrases  which  I  shall  tell 
you  some  day  if  I  don't  forget.  He  had 
heard  them  in  the  days  when  he  was  a 
thrush,  and  though  I  suggested  to  him  that 
perhaps  it  is  really  bird  language  he  is  re- 
membering, he  says  not,  for  these  phrases 
are  about  fun  and  adventures,  and  the  birds 
talked  of  nothing  but  nest-building.  He  dis- 
tinctly remembers  that  the  birds  used  to  go 
from  spot  to  spot  like  ladies  at  shop  windows, 
looking  at  the  different  nests  and  saying,  'Not 
my  colour,  my  dear,'  and  <  How  would  that 
do  with  a  soft  lining  f '  and  <  But  will  it  wear  I » 
and  « What  hideous  trimming ! '  and  so  on. 
62 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

The  fairies  are  exquisite  dancers,  and  that 
is  why  one  of  the  first  things  the  baby  does 
is  to  sign  to  you  to  dance  to  him  and  then  to 
cry  when  you  do  it.  They  hold  their  great 
balls  in  the  open  air,  in  what  is  called  a  fairy 
ring.  For  weeks  afterwards  you  can  see  the 
ring  on  the  grass.  It  is  not  there  when  they 
begin,  but  they  make  it  by  waltzing  round 
and  round.  Sometimes  you  will  find  mush- 
rooms inside  the  ring,  and  these  are  fairy 
chairs  that  the  servants  have  forgotten  to 
clear  away.  The  chairs  and  the  rings  are 
the  only  tell-tale  marks  these  little  people 
leave  behind  them,  and  they  would  remove 
even  these  were  they  not  so  fond  of  dancing 
that  they  toe  it  till  the  very  moment  of  the 
opening  of  the  gates.  David  and  I  once 
found  a  fairy  ring  quite  warm. 

But  there  is  also  a  way  of  finding  out 
about  the  ball  before  it  takes  place.  You 
know  the  boards  which  tell  at  what  time  the 
Gardens  are  to  close  to-day.  Well,  these 
tricky  fairies  sometimes  slyly  change  the 
board  on  a  ball  night,  so  that  it  says  the 

63 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

Gardens  are  to  close  at  six-thirty,  for  in- 
stance, instead  of  at  seven.  This  enables 
them  to  get  begun  half  an  hour  earlier. 

If  on  such  a  night  we  could  remain  behind 
in  the  Gardens,  as  the  famous  Mainiie  Man- 
nering  did,  we  might  see  delicious  sights; 
hundreds  of  lovely  fairies  hastening  to  the 
ball,  the  married  ones  wearing  their  wedding 
rings  round  their  waists;  the  gentlemen,  all 
in  uniform,  holding  up  the  ladies'  trains,  and 
linkmen  running  in  front  carrying  winter 
cherries,  which  are  the  fairy-lanterns;  the 
cloakroom  where  they  put  on  their  silver 
slippers  and  get  a  ticket  for  their  wraps; 
the  flowers  streaming  up  from  the  Baby 
Walk  to  look  on,  and  always  welcome  be- 
cause they  can  lend  a  pin;  the  supper-table, 
with  Queen  Mab  at  the  head  of  it,  and 
behind  her  chair  the  Lord  Chamberlain, 
who  carries  a  dandelion  on  which  he  blows 
when  her  Majesty  wants  to  know  the  time. 

The  table-cloth  varies  according  to  the 
seasons,  and  in  May  it  is  made  of  chestnut 
blossom.  The  way  the  fairy  servants  do  is 
64 


When  her  Majesty  wants  to  know  the 
time. 


T   TIME 

hirty,  for  in- 
Th 

id 

id 

• 

is 


LOCK-OUT    TIME 

this :  The  men,  scores  of  them,  climb  up 
the  trees  and  shake  the  branches,  and  the 
blossom  falls  like  snow.  Then  the  lady 
servants  sweep  it  together  by  whisking  their 
skirts  until  it  is  exactly  like  a  tablecloth, 
and  that  is  how  they  get  their  tablecloth. 

They  have  real  glasses  and  real  wine  of 
three  kinds,  namely,  blackthorn  wine,  ber- 
berris  wine,  and  cowslip  wine,  and  the 
Queen  pours  out,  but  the  bottles  are  so 
heavy  that  she  just  pretends  to  pour  out. 
There  is  bread-and-butter  to  begin  with, 
of  the  size  of  a  threepenny  bit ;  and  cakes 
to  end  with,  and  they  are  so  small  that 
they  have  110  crumbs.  The  fairies  sit  round 
on  mushrooms,  and  at  first  they  are  well- 
behaved  and  always  cough  off  the  table, 
and  so  on,  but  after  a  bit  they  are  not  so 
well-behaved  and  stick  their  fingers  into 
the  butter,  which  is  got  from  the  roots  of 
old  trees,  and  the  really  horrid  ones  crawl 
over  the  tablecloth  chasing  sugar  or  other 
delicacies  with  their  tongues.  When  the 
Queen  sees  them  doing  this  she  signs  to 

65 


LOCK-OUT    TIME 

the  servants  to  wash  up  and  put  away,  and 
then  everybody  adjourns  to  the  dance,  the 
Queen  walking  in  front  while  the  Lord 
Chamberlain  walks  behind  her,  carrying 
two  little  pots,  one  of  which  contains  the 
juice  of  wallflower  and  the  other  the  juice 
of  Solomon's  seals.  Wallflower  juice  is  good 
for  reviving  dancers  who  fall  to  the  ground 
in  a  fit,  and  Solomon's  seals  juice  is  for 
bruises.  They  bruise  very  easily,  and  when 
Peter  plays  faster  and  faster  they  foot  it 
till  they  fall  down  in  fits.  For,  as  you 
know  without  my  telling  you,  Peter  Pan 
is  the  fairies'  orchestra.  He  sits  in  the 
middle  of  the  ring,  and  they  would  never 
dream  of  having  a  smart  dance  nowadays 
without  him.  <P.  P.'  is  written  on  the 
corner  of  the  invitation-cards  sent  out  by 
all  really  good  families.  They  are  grateful 
little  people,  too,  and  at  the  princess's 
coming-of-age  ball  (they  come  of  age  on 
their  second  birthday  and  have  a  birthday 
every  month)  they  gave  him  the  wish  of 
his  heart. 
66 


Peter  Pan  is  the  fairies'  orchestra. 


•'•'>•  \  wA-taV/A 

er 

of 


LOCK-OUT  TIME 

The  way  it  was  done  was  this.  The 
Queen  ordered  him  to  kneel,  and  then  said 
that  for  playing  so  beautifully  she  would 
give  him  the  wish  of  his  heart.  Then  they 
all  gathered  round  Peter  to  hear  what  was 
the  wish  of  his  heart,  but  for  a  long  time 
he  hesitated,  not  being  certain  what  it  was 
himself. 

4  If  I  chose  to  go  back  to  mother,'  he  asked 
at  last,  '  could  you  give  me  that  wish  ? ' 

Now  this  question  vexed  them,  for  were 
he  to  return  to  his  mother  they  should 
lose  his  music,  so  the  Queen  tilted  her 
nose  contemptuously  and  said,  i  Pooh  !  ask 
for  a  much  bigger  wish  than  that.' 

*  Is  that  quite  a  little  wish  I      he  inquired. 

'As  little  as  this,'  the  Queen  answered, 
putting  her  hands  near  each  other. 

4  What  size  is  a  big  wish  f  '  he  asked. 

She  measured  it  off  on  her  skirt  and  it 
was  a  very  handsome  length. 

Then  Peter  reflected  and  said,  i  Well, 
then,  I  think  I  shall  have  two  little  wishes 


instead  of  one  big  one.' 


67 


LOT  K-OUT  TIME 

Of  course,  the  fairies  had  to  agree,  though 
his  cleverness  rather  shocked  them,  and 
he  said  that  his  first  wish  was  to  go  to 
his  mother,  but  with  the  right  to  return 
to  the  Gardens  if  he  found  her  disappoint- 
ing. His  second  wish  he  would  hold  in 
reserve. 

They  tried  to  dissuade  him,  and  even  put 
obstacles  in  the  way. 

i  I  can  give  you  the  power  to  fly  to  her 
house,'  the  Queen  said,  '  but  I  can't  open 
the  door  for  you.' 

4  The  window  I  flew  out  at  will  be  open,' 
Peter  said  confidently.  'Mother  always 
keeps  it  open  in  the  hope  that  I  may  fly 
back.' 

'How  do  you  know  ?'  they  asked,  quite 
surprised,  and,  really,  Peter  could  not 
explain  how  he  knew. 

'I  just  do  know,'  he  said. 

So  as  he  persisted  in  his  wish,  they  had 

to  grant  it.    The  way  they  gave  him  power 

to   fly  was   this :     They  all   tickled  him  on 

the    shoulder,    and   soon    he    felt  a  funny 

68 


LOCK-OUT  TIME 

itching  in  that  part,  aiid  then  up  he  rose 
higher  and  higher,  and  flew  away  out  of 
the  Gardens  and  over  the  housetops. 

It  was  so  delicious  that  instead  of  flying 
straight  to  his  own  home  he  skimmed  away 
over  St.  Paul's  to  the  Crystal  Palace  and 
back  by  the  river  and  Regent's  Park,  and 
by  the  time  he  reached  his  mother's  window 
he  had  quite  made  up  his  mind  that  his 
second  wish  should  be  to  become  a  bird. 

The  window  was  wride  open,  just  as  he 
knew  it  would  be,  and  in  he  fluttered,  and 
there  was  his  mother  lying  asleep.  Peter 
alighted  softly  on  the  wooden  rail  at  the 
foot  of  the  bed  and  had  a  good  look  at 
her.  She  lay  with  her  head  on  her  hand, 
and  the  hollow  in  the  pillow  was  like  a 
nest  lined  with  her  brown  wavy  hair.  He 
remembered,  though  he  had  long  forgotten 
it,  that  she  always  gave  her  hah*  a  holiday 
at  night.  How  sweet  the  frills  of  her  night- 
gown were !  He  was  very  glad  she  was 
such  a  pretty  mother. 

But  she  looked  sad,  and  he  knew  why 

69 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

she  looked  sad.  One  of  her  arms  moved 
as  if  it  wanted  to  go  round  something,  and 
he  knew  what  it  wanted  to  go  round. 

CO  mother!'  said  Peter  to  himself,  'if 
you  just  knew  who  is  sitting  on  the  rail 
at  the  foot  of  the  bed.' 

Very  gently  he  patted  the  little  mound 
that  her  feet  made,  and  he  could  see  by 
her  face  that  she  liked  it.  He  knew  he 
had  but  to  say  4  Mother '  ever  so  softly, 
and  she  would  wake  up.  They  always 
wake  up  at  once  if  it  is  you  that  says 
their  name.  Then  she  would  give  such  a 
joyous  cry  and  squeeze  him  tight.  How 
nice  that  would  be  to  him,  but  oh !  how 
exquisitely  delicious  it  would  be  to  her. 
That,  I  am  afraid,  is  how  Peter  regarded 
it.  In  returning  to  his  mother  he  never 
doubted  that  he  was  giving  her  the  greatest 
treat  a  woman  can  have.  Nothing  can  be 
more  splendid,  he  thought,  than  to  have 
a  little  boy  of  your  own.  How  proud  of 
him  they  are !  and  very  right  and  proper, 
too. 
70 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

But  why  does  Peter  sit  so  long  on  the 
rail;  why  does  he  not  tell  his  mother  that 
he  has  come  back? 

I  quite  shrink  from  the  truth,  which  is 
that  he  sat  there  in  two  minds.  Some- 
times he  looked  longingly  at  his  mother, 
and  sometimes  he  looked  longingly  at  the 
window.  Certainly  it  would  be  pleasant  to 
be  her  boy  again,  but  on  the  other  hand, 
what  times  those  had  been  in  the  Gardens ! 
Was  he  so  sure  that  he  should  enjoy  wear- 
ing clothes  again  ?  He  popped  off  the  bed 
and  opened  some  drawers  to  have  a  look 
at  his  old  garments.  They  were  still  there, 
but  he  could  not  remember  how  you  put 
them  on.  The  socks,  for  instance,  were 
they  worn  on  the  hands  or  on  the  feet? 
He  was  about  to  try  one  of  them  on  his 
hand,  when  he  had  a  great  adventure. 
Perhaps  the  drawer  had  creaked;  at  any 
rate,  his  mother  woke  up,  for  he  heard  her 
say  ' Peter,'  as  if  it  was  the  most  lovely 
word  in  the  language.  He  remained  sitting 
on  the  floor  and  held  his  breath,  wonder- 

71 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

ing  how  she  knew  that  he  had  come  back. 
If  she  said  'Peter'  again,  he  meant  to  cry 
4 Mother'  and  rim  to  her.  But  she  spoke 
110  more,  she  made  little  moans  only,  and 
when  he  next  peeped  at  her  she  was  once 
more  asleep,  with  tears  on  her  face. 

It  made  Peter  very  miserable,  and  what 
do  you  think  Avas  the  first  thing  he  did? 
Sitting  on  the  rail  at  the  foot  of  the  bed, 
he  played  a  beautiful  lullaby  to  his  mother 
on  his  pipe.  He  had  made  it  up  himself 
out  of  the  way  she  said  'Peter,'  and  he 
never  stopped  playing  until  she  looked 
happy. 

He  thought  this  so  clever  of  him  that 
he  could  scarcely  resist  wakening  her  to 
hear  her  say,  'O  Peter,  how  exquisitely  you 
play!'  However,  as  she  now  seemed  com- 
fortable, he  again  cast  looks  at  the  window. 
You  must  not  think  that  he  meditated  fly- 
ing away  and  never  coming  back.  He  had 
quite  decided  to  be  his  mother's  boy,  but 
hesitated  about  beginning  to-night.  It  was 
the  second  wish  which  troubled  him.  He 
72 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

no  longer  meant  to  make  it  a  wish  to  be 
a  bird,  but  not  to  ask  for  a  second  wish 
seemed  wasteful,  and,  of  course,  he  could 
not  ask  for  it  without  returning  to  the 
fairies.  Also,  if  he  put  off  asking  for  his 
wish  too  long  it  might  go  bad.  He  asked 
himself  if  he  had  not  been  hard-hearted 
to  fly  away  without  saying  good-bye  to 
Solomon.  « I  should  like  awfully  to  sail  in 
my  boat  just  once  more,'  he  said  wistfully 
to  his  sleeping  mother.  He  quite  argued 
with  her  as  if  she  could  hear  him.  'It 
would  be  so  splendid  to  tell  the  birds  of 
this  adventure,'  he  said  coaxingly.  'I  pro- 
mise to  come  back,'  he  said  solemnly,  and 
meant  it,  too. 

And  in  the  end,  you  know,  he  flew  away. 
Twice  he  came  back  from  the  window, 
wanting  to  kiss  his  mother,  but  he  feared 
the  delight  of  it  might  waken  her,  so  at 
last  he  played  her  a  lovely  kiss  on  his 
pipe,  and  then  he  flew  back  to  the 
Gardens. 

Many  nights,  and  even  months,  passed 

73 


LOCK-OUT  TIME 

before  he  asked  the  fames  for  his  second 
wish;  and  I  am  not  sure  that  I  quite 
know  why  he  delayed  so  long.  One  reason 
was  that  he  had  so  many  good-byes  to  say, 
not  only  to  his  particular  friends,  but  to  a 
hundred  favourite  spots.  Then  he  had  his 
last  sail,  and  his  very  last  sail,  and  his  last 
sail  of  all,  and  so  on.  Again,  a  number  of 
farewell  feasts  were  given  in  his  honour; 
and  another  comfortable  reason  was  that, 
after  all,  there  was  110  hurry,  for  his  mother 
would  never  weary  of  waiting  for  him.  This 
last  reason  displeased  old  Solomon,  for  it 
was  an  encouragement  to  the  birds  to  pro- 
crastinate. Solomon  had  several  excellent 
mottoes  for  keeping  them  at  their  work, 
such  as  '  Never  put  off  laying  to-day 
because  you  can  lay  to-morrow,'  and  'In 
this  world  there  are  no  second  chances,' 
and  yet  here  was  Peter  gaily  putting  off 
and  none  the  worse  for  it.  The  birds 
pointed  this  out  to  each  other,  and  fell 
into  lazy  habits. 

But,  mind  you,  though  Peter  was  so  slow 
74 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

in  going  back  to  his  mother,  he  was  quite 
decided  to  go  back.  The  best  proof  of 
this  was  his  caution  with  the  fairies.  They 
were  most  anxious  that  he  should  remain 
in  the  Gardens  to  play  to  them,  and  to 
bring  this  to  pass  they  tried  to  trick  him 
into  making  such  a  remark  as  'I  wish  the 
grass  was  not  so  wet,'  and  some  of  them 
danced  out  of  time  in  the  hope  that  he 
might  cry,  <I  do  wish  you  would  keep 
time!'  Then  they  would  have  said  that 
this  was  his  second  wish.  But  he  smoked 
their  design,  and  though  on  occasions  he 
began,  <I  wish-  *  he  always  stopped  in 
time.  So  when  at  last  he  said  to  them 
bravely,  '  I  wish  now  to  go  back  to  mother 
for  ever  and  always,'  they  had  to  tickle  his 
shoulders  and  let  him  go. 

He  went  in  a  hurry  in  the  end,  because 
he  had  dreamt  that  his  mother  was  crying, 
and  he  knew  what  was  the  great  thing  she 
cried  for,  and  that  a  hug  from  her  splendid 
Peter  would  quickly  make  her  to  smile. 
Oh !  he  felt  sure  of  it,  and  so  eager  was  he 

75 


LOCK-OUT   TIME 

to  be  nestling  in  her  arms  that  this  time 
he  flew  straight  to  the  window,  which  was 
always  to  be  open  for  him. 

But  the  window  was  closed,  and  there 
were  iron  bars  on  it,  and  peering  inside 
he  saw  his  mother  sleeping  peacefully  with 
her  arm  around  another  little  boy. 

Peter  called,  i Mother!  mother!'  but  she 
heard  him  not;  in  vain  he  beat  his  little 
limbs  against  the  iron  bars.  He  had  to  fly 
back,  sobbing,  to  the  Gardens,  and  he  never 
saw  his  dear  again.  What  a  glorious  boy 
he  had  meant  to  be  to  her!  Ah,  Peter! 
we  who  have  made  the  great  mistake,  how 
differently  we  should  all  act  at  the  second 
chance.  But  Solomon  was  right — there  is 
no  second  chance,  not  for  most  of  us. 
When  we  reach  the  window  it  is  Lock-out 
Time.  The  iron  bars  are  up  for  life. 


76 


V 

THE    LITTLE   HOUSE 

EVERYBODY  has  heard  of  the  Little  House 
in  the  Kensington  Gardens,  which  is  the 
only  house  in  the  whole  world  that  the 
fairies  have  built  for  humans.  But  110  one 
has  really  seen  it,  except  just  three  or  four, 
and  they  have  not  only  seen  it  but  slept  in 
it,  and  unless  you  sleep  in  it  you  never 
see  it.  This  is  because  it  is  not  there  when 
you  lie  down,  but  it  is  there  when  you 
wake  up  and  step  outside. 

In  a  kind  of  way  every  one  may  see  it, 
but  what  you  see  is  not  really  it,  but  only 
the  light  in  the  windows.  You  see  the 
light  after  Lock-out  Time.  David,  for  in- 
stance, saw  it  quite  distinctly  far  away 
among  the  trees  as  we  were  going  home 
from  the  pantomime,  and  Oliver  Bailey 

77 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

saw  it  the  night  he  stayed  so  late  at  the 
Temple,  which  is  the  name  of  his  father's 
office.  Angela  Clare,  who  loves  to  have  a 
tooth  extracted  because  then  she  is  treated 
to  tea  in  a  shop,  saw  more  than  one  light, 
she  saw  hundreds  of  them  all  together ;  and 
this  must  have  been  the  fairies  building 

o 

the  house,  for  they  build  it  every  night, 
and  always  in  a  different  part  of  the  Gar- 
dens. She  thought  one  of  the  lights  was 
bigger  than  the  others,  though  she  was  not 
quite  sure,  for  they  jumped  about  so,  and 
it  might  have  been  another  one  that  was 
bigger.  But  if  it  was  the  same  one,  it  was 
Peter  Pan's  light.  Heaps  of  children  have 
seen  the  light,  so  that  is  nothing.  But 
Maimie  Mannering  was  the  famous  one  for 
whom  the  house  was  first  built. 

Maimie  was  always  rather  a  strange  girl, 
and  it  was  at  night  that  she  was  strange. 
She  was  four  years  of  age,  and  in  the  day- 
time she  was  the  ordinary  kind.  She  was 
pleased  when  her  brother  Tony,  who  was  a 
magnificent  fellow  of  six,  took  notice  of  her, 
78 


THE  LITTLE   HOUSE 

and  she  looked  up  to  him  in  the  right  way, 
and  tried  in  vain  to  imitate  him,  and  was 
flattered  rather  than  annoyed  when  he 
shoved  her  about.  Also,  when  she  was 
batting,  she  would  pause  though  the  ball 
was  in  the  air  to  point  out  to  you  that  she 
was  wearing  new  shoes.  She  was  quite 
the  ordinary  kind  in  the  daytime. 

But  as  the  shades  of  night  fell,  Tony, 
the  swaggerer,  lost  his  contempt  for  Maimie 
and  eyed  her  fearfully ;  and  no  wonder,  for 
with  dark  there  came  into  her  face  a  look 
that  I  can  describe  only  as  a  leary  look. 
It  was  also  a  serene  look  that  contrasted 
grandly  with  Tony's  uneasy  glances.  Then 
he  would  make  her  presents  of  his  favourite 
toys  (which  he  always  took  away  from  her 
next  morning),  and  she  accepted  them  with 
a  disturbing  smile.  The  reason  he  was  now 
become  so  wheedling  and  she  so  mysterious 
was  (in  brief)  that  they  knew  they  were 
about  to  be  sent  to  bed.  It  was  then  that 
Maimie  was  terrible.  Tony  entreated  her 
not  to  do  it  to-night,  and  the  mother  and 

79 


THE  LITTLE  HOUSE 

their  coloured  nurse  threatened  her,  but 
Mainiie  merely  smiled  her  agitating  smile. 
And  by  and  by  when  they  were  alone  with 
their  night-light  she  would  start  up  in  bed 
crying  '  Hsh !  what  was  that  f  '  Tony  be- 
seeches her,  <  It  was  nothing — don't,  Maimie, 
don't!'  and  pulls  the  sheet  over  his  head. 
4  It  is  coming  nearer ! '  she  cries.  i  Oh,  look 
at  it,  Tony!  It  is  feeling  your  bed  Avith 
its  horns — it  is  boring  for  you,  O  Tony,  oh ! ' 
and  she  desists  not  until  he  rushes  down- 
stairs in  his  combinations,  screeching.  When 
they  came  up  to  whip  Maimie  they  usually 
found  her  sleeping  tranquilly- -not  sham- 
ming, you  know,  but  really  sleeping,  and 
looking  like  the  sweetest  little  angel,  which 
seems  to  me  to  make  it  almost  worse. 

But  of  course  it  was  daytime  when  they 
were  in  the  Gardens,  and  then  Tony  did 
most  of  the  talking.  You  could  gather 
from  his  talk  that  he  was  a  very  brave 
boy,  and  no  one  was  so  proud  of  it  as 
Mainiie.  She  would  have  loved  to  have 
a  ticket  on  her  saying  that  she  was  his 
80 


THE  LITTLE   HOUSE 

sister.  And  at  no  time  did  she  admire 
him  more  than  when  he  told  her,  as  he 
often  did  with  splendid  firmness,  that  one 
day  he  meant  to  remain  behind  in  the 
Gardens  after  the  gates  were  closed. 

<O  Tony,'  she  would  say  with  awful  re- 
spect, '  but  the  fairies  will  be  so  angry ! ' 

*  I  dare  say,'  replied  Tony  carelessly. 

<  Perhaps,'  she  said,  thrilling,  '  Peter  Pan 
will  give  you  a  sail  in  his  boat ! ' 

4 1  shall  make  him,'  replied  Tony;  no 
wonder  she  was  proud  of  him. 

But  they  should  not  have  talked  so  loudly, 
for  one  day  they  were  overheard  by  a  fairy 
who  had  been  gathering  skeleton  leaves, 
from  which  the  little  people  weave  their 
summer  curtains,  and  after  that  Tony  was 
a  marked  boy.  They  loosened  the  rails 
before  he  sat  on  them,  so  that  down  he 
came  on  the  back  of  his  head ;  they  tripped 
him  up  by  catching  his  bootlace,  and  bribed 
the  ducks  to  sink  his  boat.  Nearly  all 
the  nasty  accidents  you  meet  with  in  the 
Gardens  occur  because  the  fairies  have 

81 


THE    LITTLE    HOUSE 

taken  an  ill-will  to  you,  and  so  it  behoves 
you  to  be  careful  what  you  say  about 
them. 

Maimie  was  one  of  the  kind  who  like  to 
fix  a  day  for  doing  things,  but  Tony  was 
not  that  kind,  and  when  she  asked  him 
which  day  he  was  to  remain  behind  in  the 
Gardens  after  Lock-out  he  merely  replied, 
4  Just  some  day ' ;  he  was  quite  vague  about 
which  day  except  when  she  asked,  'Will 
it  be  to-day  I '  and  then  he  could  always 
say  for  certain  that  it  would  not  be  to-day. 
So  she  saw  that  he  was  waiting  for  a  real 
good  chance. 

This  brings  us  to  an  afternoon  when  the 
Gardens  were  white  with  snow,  and  there 
was  ice  on  the  Round  Pond ;  not  thick 
enough  to  skate  on,  but  at  least  you  could 
spoil  it  for  to-morrow  by  flinging  stones, 
and  many  bright  little  boys  and  girls  were 
doing  that. 

When  Tony  and  his  sister  arrived  they 
wanted  to  go  straight  to  the  pond,  but 
their  ayah  said  they  must  take  a  sharp 
82 


THE    LITTLE    HOUSE 

walk  first,  and  as  she  said  this  she  glanced 
at  the  time-board  to  see  when  the  Gardens 
closed  that  night.  It  read  half-past  five. 
Poor  ayah!  she  is  the  one  who  laughs 
continuously  because  there  are  so  many 
white  children  in  the  world,  but  she  was 
not  to  laugh  much  more  that  day. 

Well,  they  went  up  the  Baby  Walk  and 
back,  and  when  they  returned  to  the  time- 
board  she  was  surprised  to  see  that  it  now 
read  five  o'clock  for  closing-time.  But  she 
was  unacquainted  with  the  tricky  ways  of 
the  fairies,  and  so  did  not  see  (as  Maimie 
and  Tony  saw  at  once)  that  they  had 
changed  the  hour  because  there  was  to  be 
a  ball  to-night.  She  said  there  was  only 
time  now  to  walk  to  the  top  of  the  Hump 
and  back,  and  as  they  trotted  along  with 
her  she  little  guessed  what  was  thrilling 
their  little  breasts.  You  see  the  chance 
had  come  of  seeing  a  fairy  ball.  Never, 
Tony  felt,  could  he  hope  for  a  better 
chance. 

He  had  to  feel  this  for  Maimie  so  plainly 

83 


THE   LITTLE    HOUSE 

felt  it  for  him.  Her  eager  eyes  asked  the 
question,  *  Is  it  to-day  ? '  and  he  gasped 
and  then  nodded.  Maimie  slipped  her 
hand  into  Tony's,  and  hers  was  hot,  but 
his  was  cold.  She  did  a  very  kind  thing; 
she  took  off  her  scarf  and  gave  it  to  him. 
4  In  case  you  should  feel  cold,'  she  whis- 
pered. Her  face  was  aglow,  but  Tony's 
was  very  gloomy. 

As  they  turned  on  the  top  of  the  Hump 
he  whispered  to  her,  '  I  'm  afraid  nurse 
would  see  me,  so  I  shan't  be  able  to  do 
it.' 

Maimie  admired  him  more  than  ever  for 
being  afraid  of  nothing  but  their  ayah,  when 
there  were  so  many  unknown  terrors  to 
fear,  and  she  said  aloud,  'Tony,  I  shall 
race  you  to  the  gate,'  and  in  a  whisper, 
4  Then  you  can  hide,'  and  off  they  ran. 

Tony  could  always  outdistance  her  easily, 
but  never  had  she  known  him  speed  away 
so  quickly  as  now,  and  she  was  sure  he 
hurried  that  he  might  have  more  time  to 
hide.  '  Brave,  brave ! '  her  doting  eyes  were 
84 


THE    LITTLE   HO  IT  8  E 

crying  when  she  got  a  dreadful  shock; 
instead  of  hiding,  her  hero  had  run  out  at 
the  gate!  At  this  bitter  sight  Maimie 
stopped  blankly,  as  if  all  her  lapful  of 
darling  treasures  were  suddenly  spilled, 
and  then  for  very  disdain  she  could  not 
sob;  in  a  swell  of  protest  against  all  pul- 
ing cowards  she  ran  to  St.  Govor's  Well 
and  hid  in  Tony's  stead. 

When  the  ayah  reached  the  gate  and 
saw  Tony  far  in  front  she  thought  her 
other  charge  was  with  him  and  passed 
out.  Twilight  crept  over  the  Gardens, 
and  hundreds  of  people  passed  out,  includ- 
ing the  last  one,  who  always  has  to  run  for 
it,  but  Maimie  saw  them  not.  She  had 
shut  her  eyes  tight  and  glued  them  with 
passionate  tears.  When  she  opened  them 
something  very  cold  ran  up  her  legs  and 
up  her  arms  and  dropped  into  her  heart. 
It  was  the  stillness  of  the  Gardens.  Then 
she  heard  clang,  then  from  another  part 
clang,  then  clang,  clang  far  away.  It  was 
the  Closing  of  the  Gates. 

85 


THE    LITTLE    HOUSE 

Immediately  the  last  clang  had  died  away 
Maimie  distinctly  heard  a  voice  say,  <•  So 
that's  all  right.'  It  had  a  wooden  sound 
and  seemed  to  come  from  above,  and  she 
looked  up  in  time  to  see  an  elm-tree 
stretching  out  its  arms  and  yawning. 

She  was  about  to  say,  ;  I  never  knew  you 
could  speak!'  when  a  metallic  voice  that 
seemed  to  come  from  the  ladle  at  the  well 
remarked  to  the  elm,  '  I  suppose  it  is  a 
bit  coldish  up  there  I '  and  the  elm  replied, 
4  Not  particularly,  but  you  do  get  numb 
standing  so  long  on  one  leg,'  and  he 
flapped  his  arms  vigorously  just  as  the  cab- 
men do  before  they  drive  off.  Maiinie  was 
quite  surprised  to  see  that  a  number  of 
other  tall  trees  were  doing  the  same  sort 
of  thing,  and  she  stole  away  to  the  Baby 
Walk  and  crouched  observantly  under  a 
Minorca  holly  which  shrugged  its  shoulders 
but  did  not  seem  to  mind  her. 

She  was  not  in  the  least  cold.  She  was 
wearing  a  russet-coloured  pelisse  and  had 
the  hood  over  her  head,  so  that  nothing 
86 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

of  her  showed  except  her  dear  little  face 
and  her  curls.  The  rest  of  her  real  self  was 
hidden  far  away  inside  so  many  warm  gar- 
ments that  in  shape  she  seemed  rather 
like  a  ball.  She  was  about  forty  round  the 
waist. 

There  was  a  good  deal  going  on  in  the 
Baby  Walk,  where  Maimie  arrived  in  time 
to  see  a  magnolia  and  a  Persian  lilac  step 
over  the  railing  and  set  off  for  a  smart 
walk.  They  moved  in  a  jerky  sort  of  way 
certainly,  but  that  was  because  they  used 
crutches.  An  elderberry  hobbled  across 
the  walk,  and  stood  chatting  with  some 
young  quinces,  and  they  all  had  crutches. 
The  crutches  were  the  sticks  that  are  tied 
to  young  trees  and  shrubs.  They  were 
quite  familiar  objects  to  Mamie,  but  she 
had  never  known  what  they  were  for  until 
to-night. 

She  peeped  up  the  walk  and  saw  her 
first  fairy.  He  was  a  street  boy  fairy  who 
was  running  up  the  walk  closing  the  weep- 
ing trees.  The  way  he  did  it  was  this :  he 

87 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

pressed  a  spring  in  the  trunks  and  they 
shut  like  umbrellas,  deluging  the  little 
plants  beneath  with  snow.  i  O  you  naughty, 
naughty  child!'  Mamie  cried  indignantly, 
for  she  knew  what  it  was  to  have  a  drip- 
ping umbrella  about  your  ears. 

Fortunately  the  mischievous  fellow  was 
out  of  earshot,  but  a  chrvsaiithemum  heard 

/  */ 

her,  and  said  so  pointedly,  'Hoity-toity, 
what  is  this?'  that  she  had  to  come  out 
and  show  herself.  Then  the  whole  vege- 
table kingdom  was  rather  puzzled  what 
to  do. 

<Of  course  it  is  no  affair  of  ours,'  a 
spindle-tree  said  after  they  had  whispered 
together,  4but  you  know  quite  well  you 
ought  not  to  be  here,  and  perhaps  our 
duty  is  to  report  you  to  the  fairies;  what 
do  you  think  yourself f ' 

4 1  think  you  should  not,'  Maimie  replied, 
which  so  perplexed  them  that  they  said 
petulantly  there  was  no  arguing  with  her. 
< 1  wouldn't  ask  it  of  you,'  she  assured  them, 
i if  I  thought  it  was  wrong,'  and  of  course 
88 


A  chrysanthemum  heard  her,  and  said 
pointedly,  "Hoity-toity,  what  is  this?" 


dL  XL     J_J  I  1  1 


md   they 
bo    little 

y, 
y, 

\m>?   hub    -tto  \.-'.n^\\  NJ  \\U)v:rviV:.  K 

-.^u^   -/VioV^oU"   ./.\\^uM 

1 

Oil 

' 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

after  this  they  could  not  well  carry  tales. 
They  then  said,  '  Well-a-day,'  and  '  Such  is 
life,'  for  they  can  be  frightfully  sarcastic; 
but  she  felt  sorry  for  those  of  them  who  had 
no  crutches,  and  she  said  good-naturedly, 
'Before  I  go  to  the  fairies'  ball,  I  should 
like  to  take  you  for  a  walk  one  at  a  time; 
you  can  lean  on  me,  you  know.' 

At  this  they  clapped  their  hands,  and 
she  escorted  them  up  the  Baby  Walk  and 
back  again,  one  at  a  time,  putting  an  arm 
or  a  finger  round  the  very  frail,  setting 
their  leg  right  when  it  got  too  ridiculous, 
and  treating  the  foreign  ones  quite  as 
courteously  as  the  English,  though  she 
could  not  understand  a  word  they  said. 

They  behaved  well  on  the  whole,  though 
some  whimpered  that  she  had  not  taken 
them  as  far  as  she  took  Nancy  or  Grace 
or  Dorothy,  and  others  jagged  her,  but  it 
was  quite  unintentional,  and  she  was  too 
much  of  a  lady  to  cry  out.  So  much  walk- 
ing tired  her,  and  she  was  anxious  to  be 
off  to  the  ball,  but  she  no  longer  felt  afraid. 

89 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

The  reason  she  felt  no  more  fear  was  that 
it  was  now  night-time,  and  in  the  dark, 
you  remember,  Maimie  was  always  rather 
strange. 

They  were  now  loth  to  let  her  go,  for, 
4  If  the  fairies  see  you,'  they  warned  her, 
1  they  will  mischief  you — stab  you  to  death, 
or  compel  you  to  nurse  their  children,  or 
turn  you  into  something  tedious,  like  an 
evergreen  oak.'  As  they  said  this  they 
looked  with  affected  pity  at  an  evergreen 
oak,  for  in  winter  they  are  very  envious 
of  the  evergreens. 

i Oh,  la!'  replied  the  oak  bitingly,  4how 
deliciously  cosy  it  is  to  stand  here  buttoned 
to  the  neck  and  watch  you  poor  naked 
creatures  shivering.' 

This  made  them  sulky,  though  they  had 
really  brought  it  on  themselves,  and  they 
drew  for  Maimie  a  very  gloomy  picture  of 
the  perils  that  would  face  her  if  she  in- 
sisted on  going  to  the  ball. 

She  learned  from  a  purple  filbert  that 
the  court  was  not  in  its  usual  good  temper 
90 


Shook  his  bald  head  and  murmured, 
"  Cold,  quite  cold." 


ith, 

'en,  or 
like  an 


.  , 

•us 

buttoned 
naked 

had 


THE  LITTLE    HOUSE 

at  present,  the  cause  being  the  tantalising 
heart  of  the  Duke  of  Christmas  Daisies. 
He  was  an  Oriental  fairy,  very  poorly  of 
a  dreadful  complaint,  namely,  inability  to 
love,  and  though  he  had  tried  many  ladies 
in  many  lands  he  could  not  fall  in  lov<- 
with  one  of  them.  Queen  Mab,  who  rules 
in  the  Gardens,  had  been  confident  that 
her  girls  would  bewitch  him,  but  alas !  his 
heart,  the  doctor  said,  remained  cold.  This 
rather  irritating  doctor,  who  was  his  private 
physician,  felt  the  Duke's  heart  immedi- 
ately after  any  lady  was  presented,  and  then 
always  shook  his  bald  head  and  murmured, 
4  Cold,  quite  cold.'  Naturally  Queen  Mab 
felt  disgraced,  and  first  she  tried  the  effect 
of  ordering  the  court  into  tears  for  nine 
minutes,  and  then  she  blamed  the  Cupids 
and  decreed  that  they  should  wear  fools' 
caps  until  they  thawed  the  Duke's  frozen 
heart. 

4  How  I  should  love  to  see  the  Cupids 
in  their  dear  little  fools'  caps ! '  Maimie 
cried,  and  away  she  ran  to  look  for  them 

91 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

very  recklessly,  for  the  Cupids  hate  to  be 
laughed  at. 

It    is    always    easv   to  discover  where  a 

«  * 

fairies'  ball  is  being  held,  as  ribbons  are 
stretched  between  it  and  all  the  populous 
parts  of  the  Gardens,  on  Avhich  those  in- 
vited mav  walk  to  the  dance  without  Avet- 

% 

ting  their  pumps.  This  night  the  ribbons 
were  red,  and  looked  very  pretty  on  the 
snow. 

Maimie  walked  alongside  one  of  them  for 
some  distance  without  meeting  anybody, 
but  at  last  she  saw  a  fairv  cavalcade 

c 

approaching.  To  her  surprise  they  seemed 
to  be  returning  from  the  ball,  and  she  had 
just  time  to  hide  from  them  by  bending 
her  knees  and  holding  out  her  arms  and 
pretending  to  be  a  garden  chair.  There 
were  six  horsemen  in  front  and  six  behind ; 
in  the  middle  walked  a  prim  lady  wearing 
a  long  train  held  up  by  two  pages,  and  on 
the  train,  as  if  it  were  a  couch,  reclined  a 
lovelv  2:irl,  for  in  this  wav  do  aristocratic 

*        c^  * 

fairies  travel    about.     She   was  dressed    in 
92 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

golden  rain,  but  the  most  enviable  part  of 
her  was  her  neck,  which  was  blue  in  colour 
and  of  a  velvet  texture,  and  of  course 
showed  off  her  diamond  necklace  as  no 
white  throat  could  have  glorified  it.  The 
high-born  fairies  obtain  this  admired  effect 
by  pricking  their  skin,  which  lets  the  blue 
blood  come  through  and  dye  them,  and  you 
cannot  imagine  anything  so  dazzling  unless 
you  have  seen  the  ladies'  busts  in  the 
jewellers'  windows. 

Maimie  also  noticed  that  the  whole  caval- 
cade seemed  to  be  in  a  passion,  tilting 
their  noses  higher  than  it  can  be  safe  for 
even  fairies  to  tilt  them,  and  she  concluded 
that  this  must  be  another  case  in  which 
the  doctor  had  said  'Cold,  quite  cold.' 

Well,  she  followed  the  ribbon  to  a  place 
where  it  became  a  bridge  over  a  dry 
puddle  into  which  another  fairy  had  fallen 
and  been  unable  to  climb  out.  At  first 
this  little  damsel  was  afraid  of  Maimie, 
who  most  kindly  went  to  her  aid,  but  soon 
she  sat  in  her  hand  chatting  gaily  and 

93 


THE   LITTLE  HOUSE 

explaining  that  her  name  was  Brownie,  and 
that  though  only  a  poor  street  singer  she 
was  on  her  way  to  the  ball  to  see  if  the 
Duke  would  have  her. 

4  Of  course,'  she  said,  4 1  am  rather  plain,' 
and  this  made  Maimie  uncomfortable,  for 
indeed  the  simple  little  creature  was  almost 
quite  plain  for  a  fairy. 

It  was  difficult  to  know  what  to  reply. 

'I  see  you  think  I  have  no  chance,' 
Brownie  said  falteringly. 

c  I  don't  say  that,'  Maimie  answered 
politely  ;  i  of  course  your  face  is  just  a  tiny 
bit  homely,  but-  Really  it  was  quite 

awkward  for  her. 

Fortunately  she  remembered  about  her 
father  and  the  bazaar.  He  had  gone  to 
a  fashionable  bazaar  where  all  the  most 
beautiful  ladies  in  London  were  on  view 
for  half  a  crown  the  second  day,  but  on 
his  return  home,  instead  of  being  dissatis- 
fied with  Maimie's  mother,  he  had  said, 
'  You  can'  t  think,  my  dear,  what  a  relief 
it  is  to  see  a  homely  face  again.' 
94 


Fairies  never  say,  "We  'feel  happy' 
what  they  say  is,  "We  feel  dancey." 


E 

Dr 

qt 

...>\ 
'j 

po  tiny 

• 

to 

.    bt  -    oi< 

\ 


THE   LITTLE    HOUSE 

Maimie  repeated  this  story,  and  it  fortified 
Brownie  tremendously,  indeed  she  had  no 
longer  the  slightest  doubt  that  the  Duke 
would  choose  her.  So  she  scudded  away 
up  the  ribbon,  calling  out  to  Mairnie  not 
to  follow  lest  the  Queen  should  mischief 
her. 

But  Mainiie's  curiosity  tugged  her  for- 
ward, and  presently  at  the  seven  Spanish 
chestnuts  she  saw  a  wonderful  light.  She 
crept  forward  until  she  was  quite  near  it, 
and  then  she  peeped  from  behind  a  tree. 

The  light,  which  was  as  high  as  your 
head  above  the  ground,  was  composed  of 
myriads  of  glow-worms  all  holding  on  to 
each  other,  and  so  forming  a  dazzling 
canopy  over  the  fairy  ring.  There  were 
thousands  of  little  people  looking  on,  but 
they  were  in  shadow  and  drab  in  colour 
compared  to  the  glorious  creatures  within 
that  luminous  circle,  who  were  so  bewilder- 
ingly  bright  that  Maimie  had  to  wink  hard 
all  the  time  she  looked  at  them. 

It  was  amazing  and  even  irritating  to 

95 


THE   LITTLE    HOUSE 

her  that  the  Duke  of  Christmas  Daisies 
should  be  able  to  keep  out  of  love  for  a 
moment:  yet  out  of  love  his  dusky  grace 
still  was:  you  could  see  it  by  the  shamed 
looks  of  the  Queen  and  court  (though 
they  pretended  not  to  care),  by  the  way 
darling  ladies  brought  forward  for  his 
approval  burst  into  tears  as  they  were 
told  to  pass  on,  and  by  his  own  most 
dreary  face. 

Maimie  could  also  see  the  pompous  doctor 
feeling  the  Duke's  heart  and  hear  him  give 
utterance  to  his  parrot  cry,  and  she  was 
particularly  sorry  for  the  Cupids,  who  stood 
in  their  fools'  caps  in  obscure  places  and, 
every  time  they  heard  that  '  Cold,  quite 
cold,'  bowed  their  disgraced  little  heads. 

She  was  disappointed  not  to  see  Peter 
Pan,  and  I  may  as  well  tell  you  now  why 
he  was  so  late  that  night.  It  was  because 
his  boat  had  got  wedged  on  the  Serpentine 
between  fields  of  floating  ice,  through  which 
he  had  to  break  a  perilous  passage  with 
his  trusty  paddle. 
96 


THE   LITTLE    HOUSE 

The  fairies  had  as  yet  scarcely  missed 
him,  for  they  could  not  dance,  so  heavy 
were  their  hearts.  They  forget  all  the  steps 
when  they  are  sad,  and  remember  them 
again  when  they  are  merry.  David  tells 
me  that  fairies  never  say,  '  We  feel  happy ' : 
what  they  say  is,  '  We  feel  dancey? 

Well,  they  were  looking  very  undancey 
indeed,  when  sudden  laughter  broke  out 
among  the  onlookers,  caused  by  Brownie, 
who  had  just  arrived  and  was  insisting  on 
her  right  to  be  presented  to  the  Duke. 

Maimie  craned  forward  eagerly  to  see 
how  her  friend  fared,  though  she  had  really 
no  hope;  no  one  seemed  to  have  the  least 
hope  except  Brownie  herself,  who,  however, 
was  absolutely  confident.  She  was  led 
before  his  grace,  and  the  doctor  putting  a 
finger  carelessly  on  the  ducal  heart,  which 
for  convenience'  sake  was  reached  by  a 
little  trap-door  in  his  diamond  shirt,  had 
begun  to  say  mechanically,  '  Cold,  qui — ,' 
when  he  stopped  abruptly. 

'What's  this!'  he  cried,  and  first  he 

97 


THE    LITTLE    HOUSE 

shook  the  heart  like  a  watch,  and  then 
he  put  his  ear  to  it. 

'Bless  my  soul!'  cried  the  doctor,  and 
by  this  time  of  course  the  excitement  among 
the  spectators  was  tremendous,  fairies  faint- 
ing right  and  left. 

Everybody  stared  breathlessly  at  the 
Duke,  who  was  very  much  startled,  and 
looked  as  if  he  would  like  to  run  away. 
4  Good  gracious  me ! '  the  doctor  was  heard 
muttering,  and  now  the  heart  was  evidently 
on  fire,  for  he  had  to  jerk  his  fingers  away 
from  it  and  put  them  in  his  mouth. 

The  suspense  was  awful. 

Then  in  a  loud  voice,  and  bowing  low, 
6  My  Lord  Duke,'  said  the  physician  elatedly, 
'I  have  the  honour  to  inform  your  excel- 
lency that  your  grace  is  in  love.' 

You  can't  conceive  the  effect  of  it. 
Brownie  held  out  her  arms  to  the  Duke 
and  he  flung  himself  into  them,  the  Queen 
leapt  into  the  arms  of  the  Lord  Chamber- 
lain, and  the  ladies  of  the  court  leapt  into 
the  arms  of  her  gentlemen,  for  it  is  etiquette 
98 


Looking  very  undancey  indeed. 


:i' 


•.'.vi\>mi  <HVT  - urAooA 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

to  follow  her  example  in  everything.  Thus 
in  a  single  moment  about  fifty  marriages 
took  place,  for  if  you  leap  into  each  other's 
arms  it  is  a  fairy  wedding.  Of  course  a 
clergyman  has  to  be  present. 

How  the  crowd  cheered  and  leapt! 
Trumpets  brayed,  the  moon  came  out,  and 
immediately  a  thousand  couples  seized  hold 
of  its  rays  as  if  they  were  ribbons  in  a  May 
dance  and  waltzed  in  wild  abandon  round 
the  fairy  ring.  Most  gladsome  sight  of  all, 
the  Cupids  plucked  the  hated  fools'  caps 
from  their  heads  and  cast  them  high  in  the 
air.  And  then  Maimie  went  and  spoiled 
everything. 

She  could  n't  help  it.  She  was  crazy  with 
delight  over  her  little  friend's  good  fortune, 
so  she  took  several  steps  forward  and  cried 
in  an  ecstasy,  4  O  Brownie,  how  splendid ! ' 

Everybody  stood  still,  the  music  ceased, 
the  lights  went  out,  and  all  in  the  time  you 
may  take  to  say,  'Oh  dear!'  An  awful 
sense  of  her  peril  came  upon  Maimie ;  too 

late  she  remembered   that  she  was  a  lost 

99 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

child  in  a  place  where  no  human  must  be 
between  the  locking  and  the  opening  of 
the  gates;  she  heard  the  murmur  of  an 
angry  multitude ;  she  saw  a  thousand  swords 
flashing  for  her  blood,  and  she  uttered  a 
cry  of  terror  and  fled. 

How  she  ran!  and  all  the  time  her  eyes 
were  starting  out  of  her  head.  Many  times 
she  lay  down,  and  then  quickly  jumped  up 
and  ran  on  again.  Her  little  mind  was  so 
entangled  in  terrors  that  she  no  longer 
knew  she  was  in  the  Gardens.  The  one 
thing  she  was  sure  of  was  that  she  must 
never  cease  to  run,  and  she  thought  she 
was  still  running  long  after  she  had  dropped 
in  the  Figs  and  gone  to  sleep.  She  thought 
the  snowflakes  falling  on  her  face  were  her 
mother  kissing  her  good-night.  She  thought 
her  coverlet  of  snow  was  a  warm  blanket, 
and  tried  to  pull  it  over  her  head.  And 
when  she  heard  talking  through  her  dreams 
she  thought  it  was  mother  bringing  father 
to  the  nursery  door  to  look  at  her  as  she 
slept.  But  it  was  the  fairies. 
100 


THE  LITTLE   HOUSE 

I  am  very  glad  to  be  able  to  say  that  they 
no  longer  desired  to  mischief  her.  When 
she  rushed  away  they  had  rent  the  air  with 
such  cries  as  '  Slay  her ! '  i  Turn  her  into 
something  extremely  unpleasant ! '  and  so 
on,  but  the  pursuit  was  delayed  while  they 
discussed  who  should  march  in  front,  and 
this  gave  Duchess  Brownie  time  to  cast 
herself  before  the  Queen  and  demand  a 
boon. 

Every  bride  has  a  right  to  a  boon,  and 
what  she  asked  for  was  Maimie's  life.  'Any- 
thing except  that,'  replied  Queen  Mab 
sternly,  and  all  the  fairies  echoed,  'Any- 
thing except  that.1  But  when  they  learned 
how  Maimie  had  befriended  Brownie  and 
so  enabled  her  to  attend  the  ball  to  their 
great  glory  and  renown,  they  gave  three 
huzzas  for  the  little  human,  and  set  off, 
like  an  army,  to  thank  her,  the  court  ad- 
vancing in  front  and  the  canopy  keeping 
step  with  it.  They  traced  Maimie  easily 
by  her  footprints  in  the  snow. 

But  though  they  found  her  deep  in  snow 

101 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

in  the  Figs,  it  seemed  impossible  to  thank 
Mahnie,  for  they  could  not  waken  her. 
They  went  through  the  form  of  thanking 
her — that  is  to  say,  the  new  King  stood 
on  her  body  and  read  her  a  long  address 
of  welcome,  but  she  heard  not  a  word  of 
it.  They  also  cleared  the  snow  off  her, 
but  soon  she  was  covered  again,  and  they 
saw  she  was  in  danger  of  perishing  of 
cold. 

'Turn  her  into  something  that  does  not 
mind  the  cold,'  seemed  a  good  suggestion 
of  the  doctor's,  but  the  only  thing  they 
could  think  of  that  does  not  mind  cold 
was  a  snowflake.  'And  it  might  melt,' 
the  Queen  pointed  out,  so  that  idea  had 
to  be  given  up. 

A  magnificent  attempt  was  made  to  carry 
her  to  a  sheltered  spot,  but  though  there 
were  so  many  of  them  she  was  too  heavy. 
By  this  time  all  the  ladies  were  crying  in 
their  handkerchiefs,  but  presently  the 
Cupids  had  a  lovely  idea.  'Build  a  house 
round  her,'  they  cried,  and  at  once  every- 
102 


THE  LITTLE  HOUSE 

body  perceived  that  this  was  the  thing  to 
do ;  in  a  moment  a  hundred  fairy  sawyers 
were  among  the  branches,  architects  were 
running  round  Maiinie,  measuring  her;  a 
bricklayer's  yard  sprang  up  at  her  feet, 
seventy-five  masons  rushed  up  with  the 
foundation-stone,  and  the  Queen  laid  it, 
overseers  were  appointed  to  keep  the  boys 
off,  scaffoldings  were  run  up,  the  whole 
place  rang  with  hammers  and  chisels  and 
turning-laths,  and  by  this  time  the  roof 
was  on  and  the  glaziers  were  putting  in 
the  windows. 

The  house  was  exactly  the  size  of  Maiinie, 
and  perfectly  lovely.  One  of  her  arms  was 
extended,  and  this  had  bothered  them  for 
a  second,  but  they  built  a  verandah  round 
it  leading  to  the  front  door.  The  windows 
were  the  size  of  a  coloured  picture-book 
and  the  door  rather  smaller,  but  it  would 
be  easy  for  her  to  get  out  by  taking  off  the 
roof.  The  fairies,  as  is  their  custom,  clapped 
their  hands  with  delight  over  their  clever- 
ness, and  they  were  so  madly  in  love  with 

103 


THE   LITTLE  HOUSE 

the  little  house  that  they  could  not  bear 
to  think  they  had  finished  it.  So  they 
gave  it  ever  so  many  little  extra  touches, 
and  even  then  they  added  more  extra 
touches. 

For  instance,  two  of  them  ran  up  a  ladder 
and  put  on  a  chimney. 

4 Now  we  fear  it  is  quite  finished,'  they 
sighed. 

But  no,  for  another  two  ran  up  the  ladder, 
and  tied  some  smoke  to  the  chimney. 

1  That  certainly  finishes  it,'  they  said 
reluctantly. 

1  Not  at  all,'  cried  a  glow-worm ;  '  if  she 
were  to  wake  without  seeing  a  night-light 
she  might  be  frightened,  so  I  shall  be  her 
night-light.' 

i  Wait  one  moment,'  said  a  china  mer- 
chant, '  and  I  shall  make  you  a  saucer.' 

Now,  alas !  it  was  absolutely  finished. 

Oh,  dear  no  ! 

4  Gracious     me ! '   cried    a    brass    manu- 
facturer,   <  there 's   no  handle  on  the  door,' 
and  he  put  one  on. 
104 


Building  the  house  for  Maiinie. 


'HE 


the  little  house  that  they  could  not  bear 

j  i     *        i  »  i  "a  /%        *     •*  ""a         •  t  f*i 

to  think  they  So  they 

gave  it  ever  so  many  little  extra  touches, 
and  even  then  they  added  more  extra 
touches. 

For  instance,  two  of  them  ran  up  a  ladder 
and  put  on  a  chimney. 

4 Now  we  fear  it  is  quite  finished, ''they 
sighed, 

'  j  VJ&P&  tifl^aa  m  ftyMder> 

and  tied  some  smoke  to  amey. 

l'  That  certainly  they  said 

reluctantly. 

'Not  at  all,1  cried  a  glow-worm;  * if  she 
were  to  wake  without  seeing  a  night-light 
she  might  IK  m.i>hr.(-ne(L  s»o  I  -shall  be  her 


r.V.-f 


<  Wait  one  moment,'  said  a  china  mer- 
chant, ;  and  I  shall  make  you  a  saucer.' 

Now,  alas !  it  was  ;  finished. 

Ob,  dear  no ! 

*  Gracious  me ! '  cried  a  brass  manu- 
facturer, ;  there 's  no  handle  on  the  door,' 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

An  ironmonger  added  a  scraper,  and  an 
old  lady  ran  up  with  a  door-mat.  Car- 
penters arrived  with  a  water-butt,  and  the 
painters  insisted  on  painting  it. 

Finished  at  last ! 

4  Finished !  How  can  it  be  finished,'  the 
plumber  demanded  scornfully,  'before  hot 
and  cold  are  put  in  ?  '  and  he  put  in  hot 
and  cold.  Then  an  army  of  gardeners 
arrived  with  fairy  carts  and  spades  and  seeds 
and  bulbs  and  forcing-houses,  and  soon 
they  had  a  flower-garden  to  the  right  of  the 
verandah,  and  a  vegetable  garden  to  the 
left,  and  roses  and  clematis  011  the  walls  of 
the  house,  and  in  less  time  than  five  minutes 
all  these  dear  things  were  in  full  bloom. 

Oh,  how  beautiful  the  little  house  was 
now !  But  it  was  at  last  finished  true  as 
true,  and  they  had  to  leave  it  and  return 
to  the  dance.  They  all  kissed  their  hands 
to  it  as  they  went  away,  and  the  last  to  go 
was  Brownie.  She  stayed  a  moment  behind 
the  others  to  drop  a  pleasant  dream  down 
the  chimney. 

105 


THE   LITTLE    HOUSE 

All  through  the  night  the  exquisite  little 
house  stood  there  in  the  Figs  taking  care 
of  Maimie,  and  she  never  knew.  She  slept 
until  the  dream  was  quite  finished,  and 
woke  feeling  deliciously  cosy  just  as  morn- 
ing was  breaking  from  its  egg,  and  then  she 
almost  fell  asleep  again,  and  then  she  called 
out,  i  Tony,'  for  she  thought  she  was  at  home 
in  the  nursery.  As  Tony  made  no  answer 
she  sat  up,  whereupon  her  head  hit  the 
roof,  and  it  opened  like  the  lid  of  a  box, 
and  to  her  bewilderment  she  saw  all  around 
her  the  Kensington  Gardens  lying  deep  in 
snow.  As  she  was  not  in  the  nursery  she 
wondered  whether  this  was  really  herself, 
so  she  pinched  her  cheeks,  and  then  she 
knew  it  was  herself,  and  this  reminded  her 
that  she  was  in  the  middle  of  a  great  ad- 
venture. She  remembered  now  everything 
that  had  happened  to  her  from  the  closing 
of  the  gates  up  to  her  running  away  from 
the  fairies,  but  however,  she  asked  herself, 
had  she  got  into  this  funny  place  ?  She 
stepped  out  by  the  roof,  right  over  the 
106 


THE  LITTLE   HOUSE 

garden,  and  then  she  saw  the  dear  house 
in  which  she  had  passed  the  night.  It  so 
entranced  her  that  she  could  think  of 
nothing  else. 

<O  you  darling!  O  you  sweet!  O  you 
love!'  she  cried. 

Perhaps  a  human  voice  frightened  the 
little  house,  or  maybe  it  now  knew  that  its 
work  was  done,  for  no  sooner  had  Maimie 
spoken  than  it  began  to  grow  smaller;  it 
shrank  so  slowly  that  she  could  scarce 
believe  it  was  shrinking,  yet  she  soon  knew 
that  it  could  not  contain  her  now.  It 
always  remained  as  complete  as  ever,  but 
it  became  smaller  and  smaller,  and  the 
garden  dwindled  at  the  same  time,  and 
the  snow  crept  closer,  lapping  house  and 
garden  up.  Now  the  house  was  the  size 
of  a  little  dog's  kennel,  and  now  of  a 
Noah's  Ark,  but  still  you  could  see  the 
smoke  and  the  door-handle  and  the  roses 
on  the  wall,  every  one  complete.  The  glow- 
worm light  was  waning  too,  but  it  was  still 
there.  '  Darling,  loveliest,  don't  go!'  Maimie 

107 


THE   LITTLE   HOUSE 

cried,  falling  on  her  knees,  for  the  little 
house  was  now  the  size  of  a  reel  of 
thread,  but  still  quite  complete.  But  as 
she  stretched  out  her  arms  imploringly  the 
snow  crept  up  on  all  sides  until  it  met 
itself,  and  where  the  little  house  had  been 
was  now  one  unbroken  expanse  of  snow. 

Maimie  stamped  her  foot  naughtily,  and 
was  putting  her  fingers  to  her  eyes,  when 
she  heard  a  kind  voice  say,  'Don't  cry, 
pretty  human,  don't  cry,'  and  then  she 
turned  round  and  saw  a  beautiful  little 
naked  boy  regarding  her  wistfully.  She 
knew  at  once  that  he  must  be  Peter  Pan. 


108 


YI 

PETER'S  GOAT 

MAIMIE  felt  quite  shy,  but  Peter  knew  not 
what  shy  was. 

4 1  hope  you  have  had  a  goad  night,'  he 
said  earnestly. 

4  Thank  you,'  she  replied,  CI  was  so  cosy 
and  warm.  But  you'  -and  she  looked  at 
his  nakedness  awkwardly-  -<  don't  you  feel 
the  least  bit  cold  ?' 

Now  cold  was  another  word  Peter  had 
forgotten,  so  he  answered,  4I  think  not, 
but  I  may  be  wrong:  you  see  I  am  rather 
ignorant.  I  am  not  exactly  a  boy ;  Solomon 
says  I  am  a  Betwixt-and-Between.' 

4  So  that  is  what  it  is  called,'  said  Maimie 
thoughtfully. 

'That 's  not  my  name,'  he  explained,  'my 
name  is  Peter  Pan.' 

109 


PETER'S   GOAT 

'Yes,  of  course,'  she  said,  'I  know,  every- 
body knows.' 

You  can't  think  how  pleased  Peter 
was  to  learn  that  all  the  people  out- 
side the  gates  knew  about  him.  He 
begged  Maimie  to  tell  him  what  they 
knew  and  what  they  said,  and  she  did 
so.  They  were  sitting  by  this  time  on  a 
fallen  tree;  Peter  had  cleared  off  the 
snow  for  Maimie,  but  he  sat  on  a  snowy 
bit  himself. 

6  Squeeze  closer/  Maimie  said. 

'What  is  that? '  he  asked,  and  she  showed 
him,  and  then  he  did  it.  They  talked 
together  and  he  found  that  people  knew  a 
great  deal  about  him,  but  not  everything, 
not  that  he  had  gone  back  to  his  mother 
and  been  barred  out,  for  instance,  and  he 
said  nothing  of  this  to  Maimie,  for  it  still 
humiliated  him. 

'Do  they  know  that  I  play  games  exactly 

like  real  boys  ? '  he    asked    very    proudly. 

<O   Maimie,  please  tell   them!'     But  when 

he  revealed  how  he  played,  by  sailing  his 

110 


PETER'S  GOAT 

hoop  on  the  Round  Pond,  and  so  on,  she 
was  simply  horrified. 

6  All  your  ways  of  playing, '  she  said  with 
her  big  eyes  on  him,  '  are  quite,  quite 
wrong,  and  not  in  the  least  like  how  boys 
play.' 

Poor  Peter  uttered  a  little  moan  at  this, 
and  he  cried  for  the  first  time  for  I  know 
not  how  long.  Maimie  was  extremely  sorry 
for  him,  and  lent  him  her  handkerchief, 
but  he  didn't  know  in  the  least  what  to 
do  with  it,  so  she  showed  him,  that  is  to 
say,  she  wiped  her  eyes,  and  then  gave  it 
back  to  him,  saying,  ( Now  you  do  it,'  but 
instead  of  wiping  his  own  eyes  he  wiped 
hers,  and  she  thought  it  best  to  pretend 
that  this  was  what  she  had  meant. 

She  said  out  of  pity  for  him,  CI  shall 
give  you  a  kiss  if  you  like,'  but  though  he 
once  knew,  he  had  long  forgotten  what 
kisses  are,  and  he  replied,  <  Thank  you,' 
and  held  out  his  hand,  thinking  she  had 
offered  to  put  something  into  it.  This  was 
a  great  shock  to  her,  but  she  felt  she 

111 


PETER'S  GOAT 

could  not  explain  without  shaming  him,  so 
with  charming  delicacy  she  gave  Peter  a 
thimble  which  happened  to  be  in  her  pocket, 
and  pretended  that  it  was  a  kiss.  Poor 
little  boy!  he  quite  believed  her,  and  to 
this  day  he  wears  it  on  his  finger,  though 
there  can  be  scarcely  any  one  who  needs 
a  thimble  so  little.  You  see,  though  still 
a  tiny  child,  it  was  really  years  and  years 
since  he  had  seen  his  mother,  and  I  dare 
say  the  baby  who  had  supplanted  him  was 
now  a  man  with  whiskers. 

But  you  must  not  think  that  Peter  Pan 
was  a  boy  to  pity  rather  than  to  admire ; 
if  Maimie  began  by  thinking  this,  she  soon 
found  she  was  very  much  mistaken.  Her 
eyes  glistened  with  admiration  when  he  told 
her  of  his  adventures,  especially  of  how  he 
went  to  and  fro  between  the  island  and 
the  Gardens  in  the  Thrush's  Nest: 

c  How  romantic  ! '  Maimie  exclaimed,  but 
this  was  another   unknown   word,    and  he 
hung  his  head  thinking  she  was  despising 
him. 
112 


PETER'S    GOAT 

4 1  suppose  Tony  would  not  have  done 
that  ? '  he  said  very  humbly. 

4  Never,  never ! '  she  answered  with  con- 
viction, '  he  would  have  been  afraid.' 

4  What  is  afraid  ? '  asked  Peter  longingly. 
He  thought  it  must  be  some  splendid  thing. 
'  I  do  wish  you  would  teach  me  how  to  be 
afraid,  Maimie/  he  said. 

4 1  believe  no  one  could  teach  that  to 
you,'  she  answered  adoringly,  but  Peter 
thought  she  meant  that  he  was  stupid.  She 
had  told  him  about  Tony  and  of  the  wicked 
thing  she  did  in  the  dark  to  frighten  him 
(she  knew  quite  well  that  it  was  wicked), 
but  Peter  misunderstood  her  meaning  and 
said,  4  Oh,  how  I  wish  I  was  as  brave  as 
Tony ! ' 

It  quite  irritated  her.  <  You  are  twenty 
thousand  times  braver  than  Tony.'  she 
said;  'you  are  ever  so  much  the  bravest 
boy  I  ever  knew.' 

He  could  scarcely  believe  she  meant  it, 
but  when  he  did  believe  he  screamed  with 

joy. 

113 


PETER'S    GOAT 

<  And  if  you  want  very  much  to  give  me 
a  kiss,'  Maimie  said,  i  you  can  do  it.' 

Very  reluctantly  Peter  began  to  take  the 
thimble  off  his  finger.  He  thought  she 
wanted  it  back. 

< 1  don't  mean  a  kiss,'  she  said  hurriedly, 
4 1  mean  a  thimble.' 

4  What's  that  1 '  Peter  asked. 

4  It 's  like  this,'  she  said,  and  kissed  him. 

<I  should  love  to  give  you  a  thimble,' 
Peter  said  gravely,  so  he  gave  her  one.  He 
gave  her  quite  a  number  of  thimbles,  and 
then  a  delightful  idea  came  into  his  head. 
i  Maimie,'  he  said,  4  will  you  marry  me  I ' 

Now,  strange  to  tell,  the  same  idea  had 
come  at  exactly  the  same  time  into  Maimie's 
head.  <I  should  like  to,'  she  answered, 
1  but  will  there  be  room  in  your  boat  for 
two?' 

4  If  you  squeeze  close,'  he  said  eagerly. 

4  Perhaps  the  birds  would  be  angry  f ' 

He    assured    her    that   the  birds  would 
love  to  have  her,  though  I  am  not  so  certain 
of  it  myself.     Also   that  there   were  very 
114 


PETER'S   GOAT 

few  birds  in  winter.  '  Of  course  they  might 
want  your  clothes,'  he  had  to  admit  rather 
falteringly. 

She  was  somewhat  indignant  at  this. 

'They  are  always  thinking  of  their  nests,' 
he  said  apologetically,  'and  there  are  some 
bits  of  you' — he  stroked  the  fur  on  her 
pelisse — 'that  would  excite  them  very 
much.' 

'They  shan't  have  my  fur,'  she  said 
sharply. 

'No,'  he  said,  still  fondling  it,  however, 
'no.  O  Maimie,'  he  said  rapturously,  'do 
you  know  why  I  love  you?  It  is  because 
you  are  like  a  beautiful  nest.' 

Somehow  this  made  her  uneasy.  '  I  think 
you  are  speaking  more  like  a  bird  than  a 
boy  now,'  she  said,  holding  back,  and  indeed 
he  was  even  looking  rather  like  a  bird. 
'After  all,'  she  said,  'you  are  only  a  Betwixt- 
and-Between.'  But  it  hurt  him  so  much 
that  she  immediately  added,  'It  must  be  a 
delicious  thing  to  be.' 

'Come  and  be  one,  then,  dear  Maimie,' 

115 


PETER'S   GOAT 

he  implored  her,  and  they  set  off  for  the 
boat,  for  it  was  now  very  near  Open-Gate 
time.  4  And  you  are  not  a  bit  like  a  nest,' 
he  whispered  to  please  her. 

'  But  I  think  it  is  rather  nice  to  be  like 
one,'  she  said  in  a  woman's  contradictory 
way.  'And,  Peter,  dear,  though  I  can't 
give  them  my  fur,  I  wouldn't  mind  their 
building  in  it.  Fancy  a  nest  in  my  neck 
with  little  spotty  eggs  in  it !  O  Peter,  how 
perfectly  lovely ! ' 

But  as  they  drew  near  the  Serpentine, 
she  shivered  a  little,  and  said,  '  Of  course 
I  shall  go  and  see  mother  often,  quite  often. 
It  is  not  as  if  I  was  saying  good-bye  for 
ever  to  mother,  it  is  not  in  the  least  like 
that.' 

<Oh  no,'  answered  Peter,  but  in  his  heart 
he  knew  it  was  very  like  that,  and  he  would 
have  told  her  so  had  he  not  been  in  a 
quaking  fear  of  losing  her.  He  was  so  fond 
of  her,  he  felt  he  could  not  live  without 
her.  '  She  will  forget  her  mother  in  time, 
and  be  happy  with  me,'  he  kept  saying  to 
116 


PETER'S   GOAT 

himself,  and  he  hurried  her  on,  giving  her 
thimbles  by  the  way. 

But  even  when  she  had  seen  the  boat 
and  exclaimed  ecstatically  over  its  loveli- 
ness, she  still  talked  tremblingly  about  her 
mother.  'You  know  quite  well,  Peter, 
don't  you,'  she  said,  'that  I  wouldn't  come 
unless  I  knew  for  certain  I  could  go  back 
to  mother  whenever  I  want  to  f  Peter, 
say  it.' 

He  said  it,  but  he  could  no  longer  look 
her  in  the  face. 

'If  you  are  sure  your  mother  will  always 
want  you,'  he  added  rather  sourly. 

'The  idea  of  mother's  not  always  wanting 
me ! '  Maimie  cried,  and  her  face  glistened. 

'  If  she  doesn't  bar  you  out,'  said  Peter 
huskily. 

'  The  door,'  replied  Maimie,  '  will  always, 
always  be  open,  and  mother  will  always  be 
waiting  at  it  for  me.' 

'Then,'  said  Peter,  not  without  grimness, 
'step  in,  if  you  feel  so  sure  of  her,'  and 
he  helped  Mamie  into  the  Thrush's  Nest. 

117 


PETER'S   GOAT 

4 But  why  don't  you  look  at  me?'  she  asked, 
taking  him  by  the  arm. 

Peter  tried  hard  not  to  look,  he  tried 
to  push  off,  then  he  gave  a  great  gulp  and 
jumped  ashore  and  sat  down  miserably  in 
the  snow. 

She  went  to  him.  'What  is  it,  dear,  dear 
Peter? '  she  said,  wondering. 

'O  Maimie,'  he  cried,  'it  isn't  fair  to 
take  you  with  me  if  you  think  you  can  go 
back!  Your  mother'  he  gulped  again — 
'you  don't  know  them  as  well  as  I  do.' 

And  then  he  told  her  the  woeful  story 
of  how  he  had  been  barred  out,  and  she 
gasped  all  the  time.  'But  my  mother,'  she 
said,  'my  mother- 

'  Yes,  she  would,'  said  Peter,  '  they  are  all 
the  same.  I  dare  say  she  is  looking  for 
another  one  already.' 

Maimie  said  aghast,  'I  can't  believe  it. 
You  see,  when  you  went  away  your  mother 
had  none,  but  my  mother  has  Tony,  and 
surely  they  are  satisfied  when  they  have 


one.' 


118 


PETER'S   GOAT 

Peter  replied  bitterly,  <You  should  see 
the  letters  Solomon  gets  from  ladies  who 
have  six.' 

Just  then  they  heard  a  grating  creak, 
followed  by  creak,  creaJc,  all  round  the 
Gardens.  It  was  the  Opening  of  the  Gates, 
and  Peter  jumped  nervously  into  his  boat. 
He  knew  Maimie  would  not  come  with  him 
now,  and  he  was  trying  bravely  not  to  cry. 
But  Maimie  was  sobbing  painfully. 

<  If  I  should  be  too  late,'  she  said  in 
agony,  i  O  Peter,  if  she  has  got  another 
one  already ! ' 

Again  he  sprang  ashore  as  if  she  had 
called  him  back.  4 1  shall  come  and  look 
for  you  to-night,'  he  said,  squeezing  close, 
4  but  if  you  hurry  away  I  think  you  will  be 
in  time.' 

Then  he  pressed  a  last  thimble  on  her 
sweet  little  mouth,  and  covered  his  face 
with  his  hands  so  that  he  might  not  see 
her  go. 

'Dear  Peter  !'  she  cried. 

4  Dear  Maimie ! '  cried  the  tragic  boy. 

119 


PETER'S  GOAT 

She  leapt  into  his  arms,  so  that  it  was 
a  sort  of  fairy  wedding,  and  then  she 
hurried  away.  Oh,  how  she  hastened  to 
the  gates!  Peter,  you  may  be  sure,  was 
back  in  the  Gardens  that  night  as  soon  as 
Lock-out  sounded,  but  he  found  no  Maimie, 
and  so  he  knew  she  had  been  in  time. 
For  long  he  hoped  that  some  night  she 
would  come  back  to  him ;  often  he  thought 
he  saw  her  waiting  for  him  by  the  shore 
of  the  Serpentine  as  his  bark  drew  to  land, 
but  Maimie  never  went  back.  She  wanted 
to,  but  she  was  afraid  that  if  she  saw  her 
dear  Betwixt-and-Between  again  she  would 
linger  with  him  too  long,  and  besides  the 
ayah  now  kept  a  sharp  eye  on  her.  But  she 
often  talked  lovingly  of  Peter,  and  she  knitted 
a  kettle-holder  for  him,  and  one  day  when 
she  was  wondering  what  Easter  present  he 
would  like,  her  mother  made  a  suggestion. 

1  Nothing,'  she  said  thoughtfully,  '  would 
be  so  useful  to  him  as  a  goat.' 

6  He  could  ride  on  it,'  cried  Maimie,  <  and 
play  on  his  pipe  at  the  same  time.' 
120 


PETER'S    GOAT 

*  Then,'  her  mother  asked,  <  won't  you  give 
him  your  goat,  the  one  you  frighten  Tony 
with  at  night  f  ' 

4  But  it  isn't  a  real  goat,'  Maimie  said. 

4  It  seems  very  real  to  Tony,'  replied  her 
mother. 

4  It  seems  frightfully  real  to  me  too,' 
Maimie  admitted,  'but  how  could  I  give 
it  to  Peter  I ' 

Her  mother  knew  a  way,  and  next  day, 
accompanied  by  Tony  (who  was  really  quite 
a  nice  boy,  though  of  course  he  could  not 
compare),  they  went  to  the  Gardens,  and 
Maimie  stood  alone  within  a  fairy  ring,  and 
then  her  mother,  who  was  a  rather  gifted 
lady,  said — 

'  My  daughter ',  tell  me,  if  you  can. 
What  have  you  got  for  Peter  Pan  f ' 

To  which  Maimie  replied — 

4 1  have  a  goat  for  him  to  ride, 
Observe  me  cast  it  far  and  wide! 


She   then  flung  her  arms  about  as  if  she 

121 


PETER'S  GOAT 

were  sowing  seed,  and  turned  round  three 
times. 

Next  Tony  said — 

c  If  P.  doth  find  it  waiting  here, 
Wilt  ne'er  again  make  me  to  fear?  ^ 

And  Maimie  answered — 

'  By  dark  or  light  I  fondly  swear 

Never  to  see  goats  anywhere.'' 

She  also  left  a  letter  to  Peter  in  a  likely 
place,  explaining  what  she  had  done,  and 
begging  him  to  ask  the  fairies  to  turn  the 
goat  into  one  convenient  for  riding  on. 
Well,  it  all  happened  just  as  she  hoped, 
for  Peter  found  the  letter,  and  of  course 
nothing  could  be  easier  for  the  fames  than 
to  turn  the  goat  into  a  real  one,  and  so 
that  is  how  Peter  got  the  goat  on  which 
he  now  rides  round  the  Gardens  every 
night  playing  sublimely  on  his  pipe.  And 
Maimie  kept  her  promise,  and  never  fright- 
ened Tony  with  a  goat  again,  though  I  have 
heard  that  she  created  another  animal. 
122 


PETER'S    GOAT 

Until  she  was  quite  a  big  girl  she  continued 
to  leave  presents  for  Peter  in  the  Gardens 
(with  letters  explaining  how  humans  play 
with  them),  and  she  is  not  the  only  one 
who  has  done  this.  David  does  it,  for 
instance,  and  he  and  I  know  the  likeliest 
place  for  leaving  them  in,  and  we  shall 
tell  you  if  you  like,  but  for  mercy's  sake 
don't  ask  us  before  Porthos,  for  he  is  so 
fond  of  toys  that,  were  he  to  find  out  the 
place,  he  would  take  every  one  of  them. 

Though  Peter  still  remembers  Maimie 
he  is  become  as  gay  as  ever,  and  often  in 
sheer  happiness  he  jumps  off  his  goat  and 
lies  kicking  merrily  on  the  grass.  Oh,  he 
has  a  joyful  time !  But  he  has  still  a  vague 
memory  that  he  was  a  human  once,  and  it 
makes  him  especially  kind  to  the  house- 
swallows  when  they  visit  the  island,  for 
house-swallows  are  the  spirits  of  little  chil- 
dren who  have  died.  They  always  build  in 
the  eaves  of  the  houses  where  they  lived 
when  they  were  humans,  and  sometimes 
they  try  to  fly  in  at  a  nursery  window, 


PETER'S    GOAT 

and  perhaps  that  is  why  Peter  loves  them 
best  of  all  the  birds. 

And  the  little  house?  Every  lawful 
night  (that  is  to  say,  every  night  except 
ball  nights)  the  fairies  now  build  the  little 
house  lest  there  should  be  a  human  child 
lost  in  the  Gardens,  and  Peter  rides  the 
marches  looking  for  lost  ones,  and  if  he 
finds  them  he  carries  them  on  his  goat  to 
the  little  house,  and  when  they  wake  up 
they  are  in  it,  and  when  they  step  out 
they  see  it.  The  fairies  build  the  house 
merely  because  it  is  so  pretty,  but  Peter 
rides  round  in  memory  of  Mainiie,  and 
because  he  still  loves  to  do  just  as  he 
believes  real  boys  would  do. 

But  you  must  not  think  that,  because 
somewhere  among  the  trees  the  little  house 
is  twinkling,  it  is  a  safe  thing  to  remain  in 
the  Gardens  after  Lock-out  time.  If  the 
bad  ones  among  the  fairies  happen  to  be 
out  that  night  they  will  certainly  mischief 
you,  and  even  though  they  are  not,  you 
may  perish  of  cold  and  dark  before  Peter 
124 


PETEK'S   GOAT 

Pan  comes  round.  He  has  been  too  late 
several  times,  and  when  he  sees  he  is  too 
late  he  runs  back  to  the  Thrush's  Nest 
for  his  paddle,  of  which  Maimie  had  told 
him  the  true  use,  and  he  digs  a  grave  for 
the  child  and  erects  a  little  tombstone, 
and  carves  the  poor  thing's  initials  on  it. 
He  does  this  at  once  because  he  thinks 
it  is  what  real  boys  would  do,  and  you 
must  have  noticed  the  little  stones,  and 
that  there  are  always  two  together.  He 
puts  them  in  twos  because  they  seem  less 
lonely.  I  think  that  quite  the  most  touch- 
ing sight  in  the  Gardens  is  the  two  tomb- 
stones of  Walter  Stephen  Matthews  and 
Phoebe  Phelps.  They  stand  together  at 
the  spot  where  the  parish  of  Westminster 
St.  Mary's  is  said  to  meet  the  Parish  of 
Paddingtoii.  Here  Peter  found  the  two 
babes,  who  had  fallen  unnoticed  from 
their  perambulators,  Phoebe  aged  thirteen 
months  and  Walter  probably  still  younger, 
for  Peter  seems  to  have  felt  a  delicacy 
about  putting  any  age  on  his  stone.  They 

125 


PETER'S   GOAT 

lie  side  by  side,  and  the  simple    inscrip- 
tions read 


w. 

13a 

and 

P.P. 

St.  M. 

1841. 

David  sometimes  places  white  flowers  on 
these  two  innocent  graves. 

But  how  strange  for  parents,  when  they 
hurry  into  the  Gardens  at  the  opening  of 
the  gates  looking  for  their  lost  one,  to 
find  the  sweetest  little  tombstone  instead. 
I  do  hope  that  Peter  is  not  too  ready  with 
his  spade.  It  is  all  rather  sad. 


CENTRAL  CIRCULATION 

ROOM 


126